Home Asian News Cambodia, Laos Worst day on recorded COVID-19 infection - Radio Free Asia

Cambodia, Laos Worst day on recorded COVID-19 infection – Radio Free Asia

Cambodia broke a daily record for COVID-19 infections on Friday amid a worsening outbreak of nearly 700 coronavirus cases, while neighboring Laos saw the largest increase in the number of infections to date shows that the pandemic is far from over in Southeast Asia.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health said out of 700 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the country’s death toll from the pandemic rose to 61, with more than 8,000.

While the coronavirus makes little inroads into Cambodia by 2020, the country’s economy – which relies heavily on textile production – has been hit by a drop in export demand and a series of shutdowns. to prevent the spread of the virus. Migrant workers in neighboring Thailand also lost their jobs during the closings.

The severe increase in infections caused Prime Minister Hun Sen to issue 14 days to close all non-essential businesses in the capital Phnom Penh and neighboring Takhmao in Kandal province from 15-28. April and asked the 2.3 million residents of the two cities to combine to comply with a strict curfew or in certain “red zones” stay in their homes unless it is an emergency.

Residents of the affected red-zone districts in Phnom Penh and Takhmao said they have yet to receive any promised food or supplies from the government, despite the threat of being arrested if they leave their homes. and declare that they are running out of supplies.

Authorities have also threatened to fine anyone found to violate the lock order between 1-20 million riel ($ 250-4,950) and fine them between six months and five years in prison. More than 120 people have been arrested, some have been detained and charged with disobeying a curfew and locking the door since April 15.

Police in the capital have used batons and sticks to chase and beat people wandering outside their homes in recent days – videos broadcast by local authorities via Facebook account posts their.

General Sum Pov has two stars in an undated photo. RFA

Military abuse

Meanwhile, NGOs on Friday urged a Cambodian court to prosecute military officers for “abusing power” while locked to the fullest extent of the law. The appeal came after the two-star General Sum Pov of the Ministry of Defense was arrested for helping nearly 30 Chinese citizens fleeing a crackdown in Svay Rieng province to Phnom Penh.

Sum Pov is currently being questioned along with six other soldiers at the Svay Rieng Provincial Court regarding alleged violations of the government’s door lock order. King Norodom Sihamoni issued a Royal Decree to remove him from his position at the Ministry of Defense.

Chief of the Court Office Tep Phalla told RFA’s Khmer Agency that the prosecutor has not yet charged the suspects. He said the case will proceed on April 24 after the prosecutor passes the case to the investigating judge.

The 28 Chinese nationals detained in the case are currently on quarantine for two weeks. Authorities will consider whether to expel them from the country or prosecute them once their quarantine is complete, police officials said.

Am Sam Ath of local human rights organization Licadho applauded the government’s seldom arrest of a high-ranking military officer, calling it “a serious case … [that] needs to be rigorously tested, with justice applied equally, ”he said.

Soeung Sengkaruna, spokesman for the Cambodian rights advocacy group Adhoc, also welcomed the court’s action.

“They are high-ranking officers so they understand the government’s actions to stop them [the spread of the coronavirus]but they used their position for their own benefit, ”he said.

Recently, another two-star police general named Ung Chanthouk was arrested for attending a party despite locking the door. He was sent to jail and fired from his position in the Interior Ministry.

Lao people line up to buy protective gear against coronavirus in Vientiane, April 22, 2021. RFA

Laos hit a new record

In Laos, the Ministry of Health on Friday identified 65 people infected with COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 159, according to Sisavath Southanilaxay, director of the ministry’s Infectious Diseases Department and its representatives. protector COVID-19.

“Of the newly infected people, 60 are from [the capital] Vientiane, two from Champassak province, two from Bokeo province, and one from Vientiane province, ”he said.

“All of them have been sent to local hospitals,” he added.

Lais, a landlocked and impoverished country, has also largely been freed from the burden of global infections by 2020, but has suffered a devastating economic impact amid the pandemic. Tourist arrivals plummeted and income from Lao migrant workers working in Thailand plummeted.

PhonePradith Xayarath, head of the Institute of Infectious Diseases, told RFA that Laos has restrictions on immunization facilities, leading to ineffective vaccination processes in crowded places where people can pass coronavirus to each other. .

“Another contributing factor to this process is that we have a limited number of health officials to administer vaccines,” he said.

“Our medical staff works day and night, leading to a slower and less effective immunization process.

As of Thursday, the authorities had set up six mobile medical vaccination centers across the city of Vientiane, PhonePradith Xayarath said.

Another health official said that due to limited physical conditions, only about 200-300 people are vaccinated daily.

A health official at the COVID-19 vaccine unit at Mahosoth Hospital – one of the recently established immunization centers – told RFA that the vaccination groups were being divided into three groups: officials the state is at risk while at work, the “high risk” people and the public.

Every day more than 1,000 people line up to get vaccinated, the official said, adding that among the crowd “not all of them can be vaccinated.”

On Thursday, the Lao government ordered a blockade of the Vientiane city, a ban on movement, closing entertainment venues, closing schools, ordering civil servants to stay at home and urging border officials and Army units patrol the border area to prevent people from entering the city. Illegal areas and coronavirus spread. On Friday, most provinces in Laos do.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer and Lao Language Service, translated by Samean Yun and Sidney Khotpanya. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.



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