PHNOM PENH, Sept. 24 (Xinhua): Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has decided to suspend the ongoing two-week Kan Ben and Pchum Ben celebrations across the kingdom in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
"The move is to ensure the protection of people's lives and health, as the Kingdom of Cambodia has been reopening schools as well as planning to reopen the country fully in the future," he said in a decision released at Thursday midnight (Sept 23).
Hun Sen said any mass gatherings at Buddhist pagodas during the celebrations could put the country at high risk of a large-scale nationwide Covid-19 outbreak, particularly the Delta variant.
The decision came after a Covid-19 outbreak confirmed at a Buddhist pagoda in Phnom Penh capital city on Thursday, just a day after the two-week Kan Ben festival began.
Kan Ben festival is part of the Pchum Ben festival or the Ancestor's Day, which is one of the largest festivals in Buddhism.
This year's Pchum Ben festival, among the biggest and grandest event in the country, falls on Oct 6.
Although the celebrations were canceled, the three-day public holiday for the Pchum Ben festival from Oct. 5 to 7 will be maintained, Hun Sen said.
The South-East Asian nation on Friday reported a daily record of 822 new Covid-19 cases, lifting the national total caseload to 107,441, the health ministry said, adding that 21 more fatalities had been registered, taking the overall death toll to 2,197.
Additional 494 patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 99,628, said the ministry. - Xinhua