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PM urges against travel to stave off transmissions as Covid cases soar

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Motorists​​ wear face masks as they commute in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. Hean Rangsey

PM urges against travel to stave off transmissions as Covid cases soar

Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the public to refrain from non-essential travel, or wear a mask at all times otherwise, to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus which he said is circulating largely undetected.

The appeal comes as the Ministry of Health set a new one-day record for Covid-19 infections with 105 confirmed cases on March 16, all of which were linked to the February 20 community outbreak.

The latest cluster included 35 Cambodian, one Malaysian, 50 Chinese, 11 Vietnamese and eight Thai nationals, bringing the country’s third community transmission cases to 915 in less than one month.

To avoid transmission, Hun Sen said everyone must strictly follow the “three preventions and three don’ts” guideline.

He commended volunteer medical staff who sacrificed their physical and mental wellbeing in the Kingdom’s ongoing battle against Covid-19. He said their contributions were of great help in saving lives.

During a press conference on March 15, health minister Mam Bunheng also called for public participation in the fight against Covid-19.

“To achieve success in stopping the spread of the virus, all citizens need to strictly implement all measures, including health and other administrative measures,” he said.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine also said cutting off transmission from one person to another is the biggest priority at this stage.

“How could we stop it? First, stay indoors. Phnom Penh residents should not travel to the provinces and those in the provinces should not travel to the city. When we travel, we are putting ourselves at high risk of exposure to the virus and the new Covid-19 variant is very active now,” she said.

Serey Veasna, a doctor of the Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth Doctor Association (TYDA), said while he was worried about the current outbreak, helping others including Covid-19 patients was an obligation he had to fulfil.

He also advised residents to remain vigilant and stay indoors to prevent the virus from spreading.

“We are here to help our people, so our people should stay home to help make the situation return to normal,” he said.

On March 16, the ministry reported the recovery of 88 Covid-19 patients whose cases were linked to the February 20 community outbreak.

The latest infections bring the Kingdom’s Covid-19 tally to 1,430, with 609 receiving ongoing treatment and one death.

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