Cambodian PM orders temporary closure of civil institutions as COVID-19 cases rise

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen late on Monday ordered the temporary closure of state's civil institutions for at least one week as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

But all armed forces and healthcare workers still work as usual.

"It's really turbulent at this time because there are infections among police officers, civil servants and artists, so the temporary closure of the institutions, not close completely but reduce the number of people at workplaces by at least 90 percent, is necessary," he said in an audio message sent to the public.

"There will be only a small number of people on standby at their institutions," he added.

The prime minister also called on private companies to reduce the number of staff at their workplaces or take turns to work in order to avoid crowded people at workplaces and on streets.

He also renewed his call on people not to leave home if unnecessary and avoid gatherings.

Hun Sen said at least 49 people in Phnom Penh Municipality, Kandal, Preah Sihanouk and Prey Veng provinces were tested positive for the COVID-19 on Monday.

"This is a serious situation for us," he said.

The Southeast Asian country has been enduring the third community COVID-19 outbreak since Feb. 20. To stem the virus, the kingdom has closed down all schools, sports facilities, museums, cinemas, and entertainment venues in cities and provinces where the virus has been detected.

The country on Monday also turned the Great Duke Phnom Penh, a defunct-luxury hotel, into a 500-room COVID-19 hospital. 

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