The people of Phnom Penh flocked to stockpile food and other supplies on Thursday as news spread about the closure ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen to fight the coronavirus epidemic, sources said. in the capital and vicinity of Kandal province.
News of the planned lockout from April 15 to 28, leaked ahead of an official announcement, quickly pushed up commodity prices as crowds landed in local markets starting Thursday night. Private, violating regulations that restrict social communication.
In a statement on Thursday, Hun Sen urged Cambodians not to panic, saying that no one would be short of food in areas affected by the ban.
“You won’t be worried if you understand the door lock,” Hun Sen said. “I want to make it clear that no one will starve and there will be no shortage of rice, salt, or other foods,” he said.
Hun Sen added that he would find and punish anyone who disclosed information about the lockdown.
Vorn Pov, chairman of Cambodia’s Independent Democratic Informal Economic Association (IDEA), said that the Hun Sen-ordered embargo would cause food shortages, causing people to starve.
“In this situation, the government must respond quickly to the needs of the people. The government has to do its best, ”he said.
Moeun Tola, executive director of the Center for the Union of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), told RFA that workers forced to stay home will now have to turn to the government’s help to survive.
“Workers will need their wages and benefits to continue during downtime so they can stay home. And the government will have to provide tax and capital incentives to any business that has to close, ”he said.
Offering to the monks was lacking
Meanwhile, Buddhist monks living in areas outside of the capital Phnom Penh say support for the country’s temples may now decrease, leaving Cambodia’s monastic community short of donated food. contribute after the new year.
Ngoeung Leng, a senior monk in Kandal province, near the border with Vietnam, said: “It will be difficult because no one will come to offer food. “We’ll need to pay for our own food, but we don’t have any income,” he said.
Mann Pheakdey, a monk living in Sihanoukville, says support for his temple has decreased, with less people coming to make offerings after the government banned crowds.
“If this pandemic goes on any longer, our monks will face a shortage of food and a difficulty in living,” he said.
Speaking to RFA, Seng Somony – a spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of Belief and Religion – said that temples facing a food shortage could report their situation to the provincial government where it would be. solve the situation.
In response to a question from the RFA on April 15, Rhona Smith – the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia – criticized the harsh steps taken in Cambodia to control the spread of COVID, including restrictions on freedom of movement and disclosure of personal health information.
“I understand that the Royal Government of Cambodia is taking special measures and closely following its continued efforts to control and prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the community,” said Smith.
“As a Special Rapporteur, however, my role requires that I also engage with the government by highlighting potential breaches of international human rights codes and standards that Cambodia voluntarily accepted “.
“I and the other Special Rappers are concerned that certain elements of the government’s response may unnecessarily violate human rights standards,” Smith said.
So far, 5,218 Cambodians have been infected with COVID-19, with 3,000 being treated in hospitals not accepting new patients and more than 1,000 others receiving home treatment, according to data from the Ministry of Health. .
Mao Ayuth, 77, Cambodia’s Information Ministry, became 37th this weekorder Ministry of Health announced on 15/4.
Reported by RFA’s Khmer Language Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Richard Finney.