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Nationwide school closures begin anew as Covid spreads

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A number of state and private schools have been suspended as Covid-19 spreads. Heng Chivoan

Nationwide school closures begin anew as Covid spreads

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has announced the suspension of some state and private schools in the capital and provinces due to the spread of Covid-19.

The education ministry has also instructed all national departments and staff members to work from home. 10 per cent of the officials are to be put on standby in these units.

These measures are according to the instructions of Prime Minister Hun Sen and are intended for the purpose of preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Separately, on March 9 the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training decided to temporarily suspend in-person studies at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutes in Prey Veng, Kampong Cham and Koh Kong provinces, but these educational institutions are instructed to continue to operate their respective programmes online.

The Ministry of Education decided to maintain the total closure of state and private schools in Phnom Penh, Kandal province and Preah Sihanoukville and Stung Hav in Preah Sihanouk province because of the continued risks from community transmission of Covid-19.

Notice of suspension of all educational institutions in Peamro district, Prey Veng province, was given on March 9. Hun Sen addressed the nation on March 8 instructing citizens to take all possible measures to prevent further spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia due to the growth of the outbreak.

Hun Sen said that he didn’t order a lockdown of Prey Veng province but that the provincial governor of Prey Veng would have to check out the situation in the area that was exposed to Covid-19 when a doctor was infected there and had passed it on to an additional 11 people in Peamro district as of March 8.

“The schools should be closed in the area? I let His Excellency, the provincial governor of Prey Veng conduct a practical inspection. Surely, some parts are to be closed. But because up to 11 people got infected on March 8 from the doctor, the outbreak area should be closed?” Hun Sen queried.

Hun Sen called on citizens to always remain cautious and be alert and to remember that those who contracted Covid-19 didn’t typically just die suddenly.

“In cases of infection, we don’t know to what extent this disease might destroy us. Not contracting it is the best [safety precaution]. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, urgently,” Hun Sen said.

On March 9, the Ministry of Education also notified national education ministry departments and staff members of stricter measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 because community transmission has continued unabated after the February 20 transmission incident.

Education officials are now permitted to work from home online and at least 10 per cent of their officials were to be put on standby. All meetings are to be held online when necessary.

Education ministry officials have to continue to submit and organise documents on the digital system until further notice.

Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Soveacha said on March 9 that in order to tackle Covid-19 head-on, the ministry had continued to attentively monitor and assess the practical situation of Covid-19 along with the Ministry of Health, Phnom Penh and provincial authorities and relevant parties. The ministry will further inform the public of new developments.

“Overall, units under the Ministry of Education linked to the February 20 community incident have now arranged to consistently carry out the instructions of the Ministry of Health, including testing people linked to the incident as announced by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

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