More than 1,000 workers from the Fortress International Co Ltd factory in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district rushed out of the premises in dismay on June 9 after medical workers took throat swabs to test for Covid-19.

This came as the capital strengthens measures to contain the pandemic, while in Siem Reap province the authorities have classified some locations in the province as red, orange and yellow zones in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

In Phnom Penh, Dangkor district police chief Chim Sitha told The Post on June 10 that on the night of June 9, medical workers had arrived to test all of the workers at the factory. Many of them tested negative for Covid-19 and asked the medical staff to stamp a letter certifying their test results, but their request was rejected as they would have to wait until the result of their second test come back.

He said the discontent among the workers had arisen suddenly and taken staff by surprise and that none of the workers would listen to the advice of the doctors who tried to talk them out of departing from the factory.

“Those who ran from the factory had their samples taken already. After they rushed off on the morning of June 10 – they all came to work just like normal. The authorities educated them and told them not to do it again,” he said.

Sitha said all the workers were tested for Covid-19 after a few of them were confirmed as positive for Covid-19. Testing of the factory’s 2,000 workers then proceeded without incident on June 11.

Separately, the Siem Reap Provincial Administration decided to classify a few villages in Sot Nikum and Chi Kraeng districts as red, orange and yellow zones due to rising numbers of Covid-19 infections.

In a directive dated to June 9, the administration decided to temporarily cordon off certain villages experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19 for two weeks from June 9-22 to prevent further spread in the community.

“Kampong Khlaing commune of Sot Nikum district is a red zone, Kok Thloak Krom commune of Chi Kraeng district is an orange zone and Kampong Kdei commune of Chi Kraeng district is classified as a yellow zone,” according to the document.

The administration stated that the high rate of infections in Sot Nikum and Chi Kraeng districts had occurred because of an unnecessary gathering of local officials that took place in the Natural World Restaurant, as many attendees had subsequently tested positive.

The provincial administration decided to use Dam Dek High School as a treatment facility for Covid-19 patients from three nearby districts. There were 66 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the area as of June 7.

On June 10, the provincial administration announced the classification of four more villages – Roka Thom, Prey Thom, Chanlaung and Sra Ngae – in Siem Reap town as red zones.

The administration also called on the public to follow health guidelines and be tested if they suspect they may have been exposed to someone infected with Covid-19

“The decision to classify these villages as red zones was made after a Covid case involving the death of a 56-year-old man in Prey Thom village of Sra Nge commune in Siem Reap town was confirmed. The man died on the morning of June 10. He had many contacts with other residents in the area,” the administration said in the announcement.