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Cambodia imposes COVID-19 lockdowns along Thai border over Delta fears

Cambodia is set to launch a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand from midnight on Thursday, in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.

Cambodia imposes COVID-19 lockdowns along Thai border over Delta fears

A Cambodian army member vaccinates a person inside a red zone with strict lockdown measures, amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on May 1, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Cindy Liu)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia imposed fresh coronavirus restrictions on Thursday (Jul 29) for eight provinces bordering Thailand, clamping down on the movement of millions of residents to curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

In recent weeks, scores of Cambodian migrant workers have returned home from Thailand, which is battling a Delta-fuelled COVID-19 wave.

Cambodian health authorities raised the alarm this week, citing 39 new Delta cases - 21 in migrant workers returning from Thailand and the rest in contacts.

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed an order late on Wednesday for the lockdown, which bans people from leaving their homes, gathering in groups and conducting business, except for those involved in operating airlines.

"The temporary lockdown ... aims to prevent community-based transmission of the new COVID Delta variant," Hun Sen said in the order posted on Facebook.

READ: Cambodia sees COVID-19 records as government warns of stricter curbs

Border checkpoints with Thailand will also be closed except to allow for the transport of goods and in emergencies, Hun Sen said, adding the lockdown was due to run until Aug 12.

The provinces affected are Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap.

Authorities in the capital Phnom Penh also on Thursday imposed a nighttime curfew for two weeks, restricting residents from leaving their homes between 9am and 3am.

Cambodia managed to largely contain the virus for most of last year, but an outbreak first detected in late February has driven up total cases to 75,152, with 1,339 deaths.

Neighbouring Thailand has also faced a stubborn outbreak driven by the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, and has repeatedly reported record numbers of daily infections in recent weeks.

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