Cambodian capital Phnom Penh starts first full coronavirus lockdown

Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh started its first full Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown on Thursday, as it faces its worst outbreak of the virus since the pandemic began.

The government order, which also applies to the neighbouring district of Takhmao, was delivered at midnight and came after vague reports of an impending lockdown sparked a run on local markets and stores.

The restrictions apply for two weeks.

Under the measure, businesses deemed non-essential must shut and residents were banned from leaving their homes, with several exceptions.

These included travelling to work for individuals who must leave home for their jobs, trips to buy food three times per week, exercising locally, health care, and urgent trips approved by authorities.

Businesses permitted to remain open including food producers and grocery suppliers, certain factories, hotels and guesthouses, and restaurants providing food for delivery.

Cargo transport was also allowed, as it’s the work of civil servants, public utility workers, emergency services, the armed forces, and health care workers.

Following the rush for supplies by residents on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Hun Sen released a statement calling for calm.

“There will be no lack of food, rice, meat, vegetable in Phnom Penh during the lockdown,’’ he said, in comments reported by state outlet Agence Kampuchea Presse.

A Coronavirus outbreak detected in Phnom Penh in February has spawned more than 4,000 Coronavirus cases and caused 36 deaths.

During the first year of the pandemic, Cambodia recorded less than 500 cases and no deaths. (dpa/NAN)