Coronavirus: Situation in Asia

Cambodia uses wedding halls for patients as cases spike

PHNOM PENH • Cambodia began setting up thousands of hospital beds in two wedding party halls on Sunday to cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients in a country that up till recently had largely managed to contain infections.

Cambodia also reported a daily record 618 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its health ministry said, in a spike in infections following an outbreak first detected in late February. The new numbers took the overall tally to 6,389.

Cambodia until recently had one of the world's lowest numbers of infections. It has reported 43 deaths, all in the past two months.

"The Ministry of Health has decided to use the Premiere Centre Sen Sok to prepare for the Covid-19 treatment centre, which can accommodate more than 1,500 Covid-19 patients," Cambodia national television TVK said on Sunday, citing a health official.

Secretary of State and Health Ministry spokesman Or Vandine said she was busy in a meeting and had no immediate comment to a Reuters query. Health Minister Mam Bunheng could not be reached for comment.

Images in local media showed Mr Mam Bunheng visiting one of the wedding venues, Vimean Piphob Thmey Sensok, as police set up hospital beds.

The government also earlier turned another wedding venue, Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, into a field hospital housing about 1,800 beds.

Phnom Penh and a satellite district of the capital went into lockdown last Thursday in an attempt to curb the spread of infections.

Under the lockdown, most people are banned from leaving home for two weeks except to go to work, buy food or for medical treatment.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2021, with the headline 'Cambodia uses wedding halls for patients as cases spike'. Subscribe