Two new Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centres in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district are set to open soon to treat patients and isolate new arrivals in order to allow the schools that had previously been converted for this purpose to reopen.
Provincial governor Nguon Ratanak led a delegation on September 10 to inspect the preparation of the centres and urge the working group to speed up construction. The sites are being prepared by a team of experts from the construction sub-commission of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19.
“These two locations are suitable for use as quarantine centres to replace the current school buildings being used so that we may reopen the schools on the recommendations of Prime Minister [Hun Sen] and according to the instructions of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport,” he said.
Ratanak added that the two new locations were being upgraded for environmental and sanitation issues. The treatment centre can accommodate 2,500 patients with 2,500 beds and the quarantine site can accommodate up to 3,000 people comfortably.
Provincial Department of Information director Sous Sopheak told The Post on August 13 that the two centres would be open soon, though he could not yet set an exact date. He said school reopening also depends on the degree of Covid-19 transmission in the local area.
“Currently, the provincial governor is inspecting some areas where there is no transmission because we will reopen schools on a case-by-case basis by location, not across the province,” he said.
He said some areas are still highly contagious so schools cannot be reopened as yet.
Highly contagious areas will have to continue with remote learning and online classes while authorities are still in the study and evaluation stage, he said.
According to the provincial administration, as of September 8 a total of 6,457 Covid-19 cases had been detected with 89 deaths.
On August 31, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an urgent audio message advising the education ministry to cooperate with the provincial authorities to review the possibility of schools reopening in villages and communes which had no Covid-19 transmission and in less contagious areas.
He advised that school reopening begin depending on local conditions and with physical distancing, masking and other health measures kept in place.