Cambodian PM calls for precautions over Covid-19 as Pchum Ben public holiday approaches


PHNOM PENH, Oct 4 (Xinhua): Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has called on people to take extra precautions to prevent large-scale Covid-19 transmission during the Pchum Ben public holiday on Oct. 5-7.

During the holiday, people are expected to travel across the South-East Asian nation, which can pose high risk of large-scale transmission, especially its Delta variant, the prime minister said in a circular.

He advised local authorities to enforce preventive measures at tourism-related businesses and resorts during the holiday and encouraged state institutions and private companies to rapid test their employees for Covid-19 when they return to work from the holiday.

"The measures aim to prevent and contain large-scale Covid-19 transmission and to protect people's lives and health as the Kingdom of Cambodia is stepping toward reopening the country fully in all fields in the near future," Hun Sen said.

Pchum Ben festival is the kingdom's second largest festival after the Khmer New Year. This year's festival is canceled to curb the spread of the disease, but the three-day holiday is maintained for all state institution and private company workers.

Earlier this week, Labor Minister Ith Samheng instructed the owners of garment, footwear and travel goods factories across the country to rapid test their workers for the disease when they return to work from the holiday.

"Testing for Covid-19 is the responsibility of the owners or managers of factories and enterprises," he said in a letter.

"Any worker who refuses to take a test will be guilty of a serious infraction of disciplinary, safety and health regulations as stated in Article 83 of the labor law."

He added that employers have permission to summarily dismiss any returning worker who refuses to be tested or evades the testing requirement.

Cambodia on Sunday confirmed 199 new Covid19 cases, pushing the national total caseload to 113,256, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement.

Twenty-three more fatalities were registered, taking the overall death toll to 2,383, it said, adding that an additional 490 patients recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 104,408.

The Kingdom launched a Covid-19 vaccination drive in February, with China being the key vaccine supplier.

The MoH's secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said as of Oct. 2, the nation has administered at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccines to 13.42 million people, or 83.9 percent of its 16-million population.

Of them, 11.1 million, or 69.4 percent, have been fully vaccinated with both required shots, and 901,907, or 5.6 percent, have received a booster dose, she said in a report. - Xinhua

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