Cambodia may declare state of emergency to curb COVID-19

PHNOM PENH (XINHUA) – Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said yesterday that the kingdom may declare a state of emergency if the COVID-19 situation deteriorates further.

“Frankly speaking, I’ve already drafted a royal decree and a request for the king to put the country in the state of emergency,” he said in an audio message posted on his official Facebook page.

“But I don’t want to move forward to such a step because it will bog down Cambodia’s economy if the country or its parts such as capital Phnom Penh or any province is locked down,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen ordered local authorities to close down any businesses that do not properly follow the COVID-19 safety measures, saying that the ongoing outbreak in the capital was due to the neglect of some businesses.

“If any businesses do not comply with the safety measures, the authorities can use the state’s power to shut down their shops temporarily,” he said.

Hun Sen said it is a must for both sellers and buyers to wear a face mask, to wash hands with alcohol or gel frequently, and to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres between each other.

The Cambodian prime minister also renewed his call on all people to wear a face mask when they are out of home.

The move came after the Southeast Asian country confirmed the first-ever COVID-19 transmission in the community on November 28, and so far, at least 30 Phnom Penh dwellers have been tested positive for the virus.

To stem the virus, the kingdom has also closed down schools, museums, cinemas, and arts performing venues nationwide and banned mass gatherings and weddings in Phnom Penh and the northwestern Siem Reap province.