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Cambodia Records Highest Daily Case Count, Kandal Casino Town Hit Hard


Cambodian residents wearing face masks walk on a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on March 15, 2021. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Cambodia recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 case count with the Health Ministry reporting 105 cases on Tuesday, as the current cluster shows no signs of abating.

A Health Ministry statement reported 105 cases, 64 of which were from Kandal province’s Koh Thom district on the border with Vietnam. The other cases were in Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, and Prey Veng provinces.

The new cases take the February 20 event, which is Cambodia’s second community transmission, count to 915 and 1,430 cases in total since last year.

Kruy Malen, a spokesperson at the Kandal Provincial Hall, said there were more than 100 people who tested positive in Koh Thom district with over 1,000 people under quarantine and awaiting the COVID-19 test results.

“The number of infections might increase since some people are still waiting for the results,” he said, adding that the provincial authorities have asked the government to set up a treatment center in the district.

“There are a lot of foreigners working in the casinos and staying at the hotels there,” he said.

Or Vandine, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. She did request citizens on Monday to stay at home and follow health guidelines to curb the spread of the community transmission cluster. She is hopeful it will end in two weeks.

“People are still careless. They are not scared,” said Or Vandine at a press conference on Monday.

Yong Kim Eng, a director of the People's Center for Development and Peace, said he is concerned about the fast-spreading cluster and whether authorities were able to track more people through contact tracing.

“There should be more measures to curb the risks spreading,” he said.

Kim Eng expressed concern that Cambodia could reach a situation where there would be a lack of equipment, such as ventilators, to help patients.

Last week, Cambodia reported its first COVID-19 death since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, as a recent community transmission cluster continues to spread throughout the provinces.

The World Health Organization in Phnom Penh said last week Cambodia was at a tipping point in its struggle against COVID-19. Li Ailan, the WHO’s representative to Cambodia, said everyone needed to follow health and safety guidelines and failure to work as a community could be “devastating.”

The Health Ministry also reported 88 recoveries on Tuesday.

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