Hun Sen threatens to jail Covid rule-breakers

Hun Sen threatens to jail Covid rule-breakers

Cambodian civil servants told not getting vaccinated could be a firing offence

A woman buys a box of traditional medicine from a vendor, as they are separated by a length of rope to create social distancing, in Phnom Penh on Friday. (AFP Photo)
A woman buys a box of traditional medicine from a vendor, as they are separated by a length of rope to create social distancing, in Phnom Penh on Friday. (AFP Photo)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened quarantine-breakers with jail time on Saturday and warned civil servants they could lose their jobs if they go unvaccinated, as the country grapples with a growing coronavirus caseload.

In the past two days the country has registered more than 1,000 infections — many among garment workers and market vendors — bringing the tally to 4,081 cases and 26 deaths since the pandemic began last year.

Authorities this week banned travel between provinces, imposed a night-time curfew in Phnom Penh and shut down popular tourism sites including the famed Angkor Wat archaeological park.

Wearing face masks is now mandatory in Phnom Penh and violators face a fine of up to US$250.

But Hun Sen on Saturday threatened harsher measures, saying anyone who flouts a two-week quarantine period would face a “quick trial” and jail time.

“People who break Covid measures must be sentenced,” he said on state-run TV.

“I accept being called a dictator, but I will also be admired for protecting my people’s lives.”

Cambodia has already passed a strict Covid prevention bill that could result in people who flout virus rules being jailed for up to 20 years.

Hun Sen also announced that being vaccinated was “mandatory” for all state officials and the armed forces, warning them they could be fired if they refuse.

The kingdom’s vaccination programme began in February and a million people in the country of 16 million have since received at least their first of two shots.

Infection numbers started surging in late February when an outbreak was detected in the Chinese expatriate community.

Today, Phnom Penh is slowly running out of hospital beds and authorities are transforming schools and wedding party halls into treatment centres for patients with mild symptoms.


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