PHNOM PENH, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia registered 477 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of infections in the kingdom to 4,081, the country's Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement Saturday.
Of the new cases, 454 were found in capital Phnom Penh, six in Preah Sihanouk province, four each in Kandal, Svay Rieng and Takeo provinces, three in Prey Veng province, and one each in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces, the statement said.
The Southeast Asian nation has also logged two new deaths, bringing the number of fatalities in the country to 26, it said, adding that there are 1,970 active cases in the country.
In a special speech live broadcast on the National Television of Cambodia (TVK), Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said most of the new cases were detected in Phnom Penh among people involved in two cluster outbreaks at the popular Orussey Market and at garment factory Din Han Enterprise.
He said during the first year of the pandemic in 2020, Cambodia registered just over 500 COVID-19 cases, but since the Feb. 20 community transmission event to date, the number of infected cases had jumped to more than 4,000.
"This is a very bad situation for Cambodia. So far, the transmission of COVID-19 has not slowed down yet; instead, it has accelerated although strict responsive measures have been in place," Hun Sen said.
CAPITAL'S HOSPITALS OVERWHELMED
Hun Sen said COVID-designated hospitals in Phnom Penh were overwhelmed with patients after a sharp rise in new cases during the last two days.
"Our hospitals are overcrowded with COVID-19 patients. Only in two days, more than 1,000 people got infected, and this number exceeds our hospitals' capacity," he said.
The prime minister said the government has been turning some more buildings into COVID-19 hospitals and has allowed patients with mild symptoms to receive treatment in isolation at home.
For home treatment, the patients must have a separate bedroom and bathroom in order to avoid spreading the virus to other family members, he said, adding that local medical practitioners will closely monitor their health status and provide them medications based on symptoms.
According to the MoH, at least 17 COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms have started receiving treatment at their houses since Friday.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen called on the courts across the kingdom to prosecute those who flouted quarantine rules severely.
Under the country's law, quarantine violators will face a maximum fine of 1,250 U.S. dollars, but if their violation leads to the spread of the virus to others, they will be punishable by six months to three years in prison with a fine of 2,500 dollars.
AREAS IN CAPITAL UNDER LOCKDOWN
Phnom Penh Municipal governor Khuong Sreng announced late on Friday that the Phnom Penh Municipality decided to place two communes and eight villages in the capital under a 14-day lockdown after hundreds of people in the areas had been tested positive for the virus.
"The lockdown starts from April 10 to 23," he told reporters.
The locked down areas included two communes in Meanchey district, seven villages in Porsenchey district and one village in Sen Sok district, he said.
Residents in the locked down areas will receive some cash grants and food relief from the government during the lockdown, he added.
Cambodia has been ensuring the third community outbreak of COVID-19 since Feb. 20. In a bid to stem the virus, the kingdom has closed down all schools, sports facilities, museums, cinemas, and entertainment venues across the country.
Also, the kingdom has imposed a night curfew in Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu province and Siem Reap province for two weeks, and banned inter-provincial travel for 14 days from April 7 to 20.
Cambodia launched an anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive on Feb 10. To date, nearly 1 million people have been vaccinated against the virus, Hun Sen said.
By the end of March, the country had received COVID-19 vaccines from China and the World Health Organization's Covax Facility, the prime minister said.
"We're expected to receive another 8 million doses in phases between April and August," he said.
Cambodia is targeting to inoculate some 10 million of its 16 million population, he said, adding that vaccinations are voluntary for ordinary citizens, but mandatory to all civil servants and armed forces. Enditem