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PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

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Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the public from his residence after an emergency meeting on February 20. SPM

PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours.

Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases -- the largest number ever recorded in a single incident -- were confirmed in just over 10 hours.

"This is an unprecedented outbreak of community transmission in our country."

According to the prime minister, the latest cluster was traced back to a nightclub known as N8 located in Tuol Svay Prey II commune in the capital's Boeung Keng Kang district.

He said the authorities were alerted to the possibility of a large-scale outbreak on the previous night, when the first 28 cases were discovered with four more confirmed just hours later.

The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge is working to test more samples, he said.

"This is a critical moment for us, at a time when we are striving to fight against Covid-19 imported from Vietnam and Thailand.

"We have done well at the borders, having arrested 31 migrant-brokers. We will continue to arrest anyone involved in smuggling people across the border illegally," he said.

The prime minister called for an understanding from businesses and the general public, announcing the temporary closures of entertainment venues and the cordon of building blocks in areas where the latest local transmission cases have been detected.

He said those living in the area will have their samples taken for testing and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. He also instructed the authorities to expedite contact tracing.

"People in the area will be affected. But we don't have any other option because they are at high risk of contracting the virus. No one will be allowed to get in [the blocks], except homeowners, but they won't be allowed to get out thereafter."

Hun Sen urged those involved in the February 20 Community Event, especially those who may have been in contact with the N8 nightclub patrons and staff, to get Covid-19 test and undergo quarantine.

While also calling on the general public to continue following preventive measures, the prime minister stopped short of banning public gatherings, including weddings.

He said: "If we do this [containment] work well, we can conclude this February 20 Community Event within one month, or slightly beyond that."

Meanwhile, Hun Sen also called on the public not to discriminate against those involved in the event, including Chinese nationals.

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