Cambodian capital to end blanket COVID-19 lockdown despite surge

Cambodian capital to end blanket COVID-19 lockdown despite surge

Cambodian army members vaccinate people in Phnom Penh
A Cambodian army member checks documents of a person as people are vaccinated inside a red zone with strict lockdown measures, amidst the latest outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 1, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Liu

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered an end to a blanket lockdown in Phnom Penh, even as Cambodia reported a record 841 new coronavirus cases on Monday (May 3). 

The Southeast Asian nation has recorded one of the world's smallest COVID-19 caseloads, but infections have climbed from about 500 in late February to 15,361 now, with a total 106 deaths.

The prime minister said there would be only be lockdowns in areas where infections have surged. 

Authorities put Phnom Penh and the nearby town of Takhmau, where most of the cases have been recorded, under a hard lockdown on Apr 15.

READ: Cambodia closes markets to curb COVID-19, thousands plead for food

"The Royal Government has issued a decision to end the lockdown ... from May 6, 2021, replacing it with new measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19," Hun Sen said on Facebook.

Under the lockdown, authorities declared some districts "red zones", banning people from leaving their homes, prompting anger among residents and human rights groups over inadequate aid distribution.

The World Health Organization representative in Cambodia, Li Ailan, warned on Sunday against easing COVID-19 curbs too soon.

"Relaxing #COVID19 measures too fast and too soon means a possible surge," Ailan said in a tweet.

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Source: Reuters/vc

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