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Restrictions extended as new Delta cases detected

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police stop people who travel during the curfew in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on August 1. Hean Rangsey

Restrictions extended as new Delta cases detected

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to extend the nighttime curfew for one more week through August 19, while Covid-19 restrictions on Siem Reap and the seven provinces bordering Thailand will remain in place until August 19.

The decisions came the same day the Ministry of Health reported 44 new cases of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the pathogen that caused Covid-19 – bringing the total to 429.

Other restrictions such as those on the functioning of non-essential businesses are also extended for two more weeks through August 26.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Kert Chhe told The Post on August 11 that the decision followed a thorough assessment of the affects of the curfew enforcement in Phnom Penh.

“The municipality has decided to extend the curfew for another week, [this time] from 10pm to 3am. When we impose a curfew, we find that people behave with more caution and new infection numbers dropped. The number of traffic accidents also dropped,” he said.

The new decision pushes the curfew back one hour later to 10pm from the previous start time of 9pm.

On August 11, the health ministry reported that among the latest 44 Delta cases, 29 were presumed to have been caused by community transmission while 12 were detected in migrant workers returning from Vietnam through Bavet International Border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province. The other cases were found on an airline passenger, a healthcare worker and a civil servant.

The ministry has also issued a seven-point circular regarding rapid test devices for ministries, public institutions, capital-provincial administrations and relevant authorities to follow in order to contribute to reducing the spread of Covid-19.

The circular, signed by health minister Mam Bun Heng on August 10, is based on a note dated August 6 from Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Moniroth, who is also chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Committee for Combating Covid-19.

Through the circular, Bun Heng instructs public and private institutions to regularly conduct rapid testing on their employees and staff, as the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications will continue to distribute rapid test devices at cost.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rapid test device to test for Covid-19 on August 3. Hean Rangsey

“Areas with Covid-19 outbreaks that are placed in lockdown must test the exposed population and conduct rapid tests or PCR tests in accordance with health technical standards,” Bun Heng said.

He told local health officials or medical volunteers to test poor people or those who cannot afford to buy rapid test devices, and districts and communes to be responsible for coordinating this task.

According to Bun Heng, the telecoms ministry will have to extend the selling of rapid test devices for another two months. Then the ministry will let any entity sell them or permit any company to do business with appropriate prices.

All private hospitals and clinics must provide rapid testing services to the people at a reasonable price using rapid test devices recognized by the health ministries. Pharmacies can sell the rapid test devices at low price.

“All public health facilities must use the rapid test devices provided by the Ministry of Health. Relevant authorities must manage and control and prevent the sale of state-owned devices on the market,” he said.

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