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Cambodia Reports Daily Record of 576 New COVID-19 Cases

A worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) sprays disinfectant in the Orussey market after it was temporarily closed following a few vendors testing positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 4, 2021. (Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP)

Cambodia reported a daily record of 576 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, in a spike in infections since an outbreak detected seven weeks ago that has seen a seven-fold increase in its overall case tally.

Cambodia until recently had one of the world's smallest coronavirus case totals but the outbreak first detected in late February has led to its first 24 COVID-19 deaths and a climb in infections to 3,604.

"COVID-19 continues to threaten us. Please continue to be vigilant by practicing hygiene, keep social distancing, do not leave your house unnecessarily," Cambodia's Communicable Disease Control Department said in a statement posted on Facebook on Friday.

The government has restricted travel between provinces and cities, banned large gatherings and imposed a curfew in the capital Phnom Penh for two weeks from April 1.

It has also passed a law that prescribes long jail terms for serious violations of health measures.

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week said health workers should prepare to treat people with mild cases at home as the country's health system may not have sufficient capacity to handle more patients.

The country of 16 million people has started its mass vaccination campaign, with workers in its crucial garment manufacturing sector among the first to be inoculated.

Hun Sen on Tuesday said civil servants may lose their jobs if they decline the COVID-19 vaccine, having previously said participation in the immunization campaign would be voluntary.