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Ministry suspends schools in capital, Kandal amid Covid

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Students drive past a private school in Doeum Kor commune of Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Ministry suspends schools in capital, Kandal amid Covid

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has decided to suspend operations of all state and private schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal province for two weeks to avert the spread of Covid-19 following the country’s third, large-scale community transmission on February 20.

The suspensions were announced in a notice issued by education minister Hang Chuon Naron late on February 22, following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s urgent voice message to the nation.

“The number of new infections has kept increasing over the past three days. That, coupled with the complexities involved in the [large] number of places that need to be closed and probed, prompted the government to take various urgent measures.

“Education minister Hang Chuon Naron has requested the suspensions of schools for at least two weeks to protect teachers and students,” Hun Sen said.

The prime minister also encouraged the public to postpone weddings, or at least minimise the number of guests, and called on those from the provinces not to travel to Phnom Penh while authorities try to contain the outbreak.

Education minister Hang Chuon Naron said: “In order to avoid Covid-19 infection via schools and further community transmission . . . educational institutions will have to continue teaching students online.”

The ministry also requested that academic staff, parents and guardians of students involved with the schools linked to the February 20 Community Event monitor their health and contact the Ministry of Health immediately if they begin to have any symptoms.

The ministry repeated its call for all state and private schools throughout the country to continue following preventive measures.

Separately, the Ministry of Tourism has ordered the closure of all KTVs, night clubs and other entertainment venues throughout the country until further notice.

Tourism minister Thong Khon requested that Phnom Penh municipal and provincial administrations regularly inspect these businesses to ensure compliance.

On February 21, the Kandal provincial authorities closed the KTV Logic 2 in Takhmao town and sent 74 employees to quarantine at Prek Tapov Primary School after a male employee there tested positive for Covid-19. His wife worked at the N8 nightclub where the community transmission of Covid-19 in Phnom Penh is thought to have begun.

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The N8 club where the community transmission of Covid-19 in Phnom Penh is thought to have begun. Heng Chivoan

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