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NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

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Traffic passes in front of NagaWorld hotel and casino complex in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health.

Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Financial Industry – which is tasked with regulating casinos in the Kingdom – said NagaWorld is the first casino to file a request to reopen.

He said Cambodia is home to over 100 casinos.

“No other casino has submitted a letter asking to reopen because their owners have yet to prepare their establishments for it. Casinos along the Thai and Vietnamese borders also have not reopened.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said in a Facebook post that the decision to allow casinos to operate again was made at a plenary meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Council of Ministers.

But only gambling and slot machines had been permitted to operate. All casino owners who want to open need to first ask for permission from the Ministry of Health and fulfil requirements related to Covid-19 preventive measures.

Vann said social distancing must be maintained at any casino allowed to open its doors.

Gambling machines and tables have to be stationed more than a metre from each other. Games that cater to groups of people are prohibited.

In other virus-related news, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that schools would reopen soon in three stages even though Cambodia has imported sporadic Covid-19 cases from abroad.

Higher-standard schools with sufficient resources to implement virus prevention techniques will open first, followed by medium-standard schools and minimum-standard schools.

Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha declined to reveal a timeframe for the reopening of higher-standard schools on Sunday, saying he would provide further details this week.

Kuoch Mengly, a Cambodian-American who founded the Aii Language Centres and American Intercon School, said he has yet to receive the news about a potential reopening date.

Mao Sreng, the country director of IDP Education in Cambodia, and Australian Centre for Education said he was anticipating a formal announcement of school opening from the education ministry this week.

“We will wait and see if the education ministry issues a formal announcement permitting schools to reopen. We need to see what conditions will be required,” he said.

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