Renowned filmmaker Mao Ayuth was one of the two deaths reported by the Health Ministry on Friday, as Phnom Penh and Takhmau city entered the second day of a two-week lockdown.
Mao Ayuth, who was the producer of “Sdech Kan,” was hospitalized at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital on April 5 for COVID-19, severe exhaustion and diabetes. The veteran filmmaker was also a secretary of state at the Information Ministry.
Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a message of condolence to Mao Ayuth's family on Friday.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the death of Mao Ayuth was a loss for the country. The minister said the filmmaker was an outstanding figure who actively participated in the field of journalism and art, and contributed to the construction and development of the country.
Phnom Penh and Takhmau are currently under a 14-day lockdown with all non-essential travel prohibited. The national capital has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in its garment factories and markets.
Hun Sen said the COVID-19 situation in Phnom Penh was alarming and called on people to be vigilant and adhere to the lockdown restrictions.
“Please join together to end this tragic event. We are on the brink of death. If we don’t put effort and unite together, we will be at the brink of death for real,” he said.
The prime minister also called on vendors to follow a two-week ban on the sale of alcohol, which was announced last week.
“As for the drinking groups, I would like to call people across the country to avoid unnecessary drinking in some places, and in Phnom Penh,” he said.
Tim Vora, executive director of the Health Action Coordinating Committee, said the government's decision to restrict travel in and out of the city could reduce the spread of the disease.
He added that measures to stop the sale of alcohol, announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen, could help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“If they drink as a family, it will be fine. But if they drink going from one home to another, it creates the chance for transmission,” he said.