The National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals (NCONIF) has reminded all boat racers to follower technical and ethical standards during the 3-day Water Festival in Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has urged the public to remain vigilant of their health during the holiday.

In an instruction notice released before the start of the event, the NCONIF reminded the crews in all of the 338 participating boats to follow the guideline booklet which has been distributed to them to ensure the event goes smoothly and is a success.

According to the guidelines, each boat racer must remain alert and wary at all times. They must be healthy and able to swim and pay close attention to their personal security, safety and health, as well as protecting their belongings. They must maintain integrity, respect their rivals, and show solidarity during the festival.

The NCONIF banned offensive language, the consumption of alcoholic drinks or drugs, and gambling, and instructed participants to follow the schedule set by the committee. They must remain friendly and fair, and maintain discipline in line with the national conscience, as they are ambassadors for Cambodia customs, culture, and tradition.

The health ministry also released a call for holiday makers to be mindful during the holiday, especially of diarrhea, colds, Covid-19 and conjunctivitis, as well as food or alcohol poisoning.

In a November 24 notice, the ministry said those who suspected they had conjunctivitis (pink eye) – or any other contagious health problem – should refrain from going to the festival to avoid spreading it to other people or making their own situation worse.

During the festival, the public should avoid pushing or shoving one another, as this could cause mass fainting or dizziness. They should sit to watch the boat racing, rather than standing. Should they feel unwell, they should seek medical attention at one of the health posts which are available.

The ministry urged good hygiene practices, such as washing hands and the consumption of safe food. Cooks must also maintain healthy practices when cooking or storing ingredients and should cook all food well.

“To all consumers, when you buy food at a market or on the street, make sure they are well-cooked, with good hygiene, so they are safe to consume,” said the ministry.

“The public should avoid consuming rice wine without clear origin or those that are not following standards, such as those who made from mixing Methanol with water, as it could pose a threat to their lives,” it added.

Authorities at all levels, and health officials, must monitor the public closely, and the public should follow their directions.