Cambodian PM orders closures of all casinos to stem COVID-19 spread

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-30 13:57:49|Editor: Liu
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PHNOM PENH, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Monday ordered the closures of all casinos in the kingdom in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"I've issued an order to close all casinos from 23:59 p.m. of April 1, 2020 onwards," he said in a press conference here on the latest measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. "This is just a temporary closure, and they will be allowed to resume their operations when the situation stabilizes."

According to Hun Sen, there is only one casino in capital Phnom Penh and the rest are located along the borders and in Sihanoukville City.

Meanwhile, the prime minister decided to ban the exports of white rice and unhusked rice from April 5 in order to reserve rice for local consumption during the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the exports of fragrant rice will not be prohibited as local demand for this kind of rice is not high because of its expensive price.

Cambodia has so far recorded a total of 107 confirmed cases of the virus, according to a Ministry of Health's statement, adding that 23 of them have recovered.

At the press conference, Hun Sen also ordered the authorities to seize any unregistered COVID-19 test devices and medicines being sold in the market, and to arrest the sellers for prosecution in order to protect public welfare.

He said only the National Institute for Public Health and the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia can provide tests for COVID-19 with accurate results.

Hun Sen also renewed his call on citizens, who had just returned from abroad, especially those from Thailand, to self-isolate for 14 days at home and to contact a 115 hotline if they have any suspicious symptoms of COVID-19.

He said more than 50,000 Cambodian migrant workers have returned to the kingdom from Thailand in recent days after Thailand closed its borders last week.

"I'd like to urge people to continue practicing hygiene and not to leave home if unnecessary," he said.

He also renewed his call on banks and microfinance institutions to temporarily suspend the repayment of loans for borrowers who have suffered the worst from the COVID-19.

Hun Sen said the government has planned to lend about 500 or 600 million U.S. dollars to banks and microfinance institutions with low interest rates, so they can provide loans to borrowers with cheaper interest rates.