Cambodian capital to end blanket Covid-19 lockdown despite surge

The South-east Asian nation has recorded one of the world's smallest Covid-19 caseloads.
The South-east Asian nation has recorded one of the world's smallest Covid-19 caseloads.PHOTO: REUTERS

PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - Cambodia registered a record 841 new coronavirus cases on Monday (May 3) but Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the end to a blanket lockdown in the capital Phnom Penh and said there would be only be lockdowns in areas where infections have surged.

The South-east Asian nation has recorded one of the world's smallest Covid-19 caseloads, but infections have climbed from about 500 in late February to 15,361 now, with a total 106 deaths.

It reported 730 new cases on Sunday and a second highest daily record of 841 on Monday.

Authorities put Phnom Penh and the nearby town of Takhmau, where most of the cases have been recorded, under a hard lockdown on April 15.

"The Royal Government has issued a decision to end the lockdown ... from May 6, 2021, replacing it with new measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19," Hun Sen said on Facebook.

Under the lockdown, authorities declared some districts "red zones", banning people from leaving their homes, prompting anger among residents and human rights groups over inadequate aid distribution.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Cambodia, Li Ailan, warned on Sunday against easing Covid-19 curbs too soon.

"Relaxing #COVID19 measures too fast and too soon means a possible surge," Li said in a tweet.