Daun Penh rounding up homeless, addicts to stop Covid spread

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Daun Penh district authorities round up homeless people for Covid-19 testing on Wednesday. FACEBOOK

The capital’s Daun Penh district administration has ordered its 11 communes to round up all homeless people and drug users to test them for Covid-19 to prevent the spread of the disease.

Sam Sarith, the second deputy chief of Phsar Kandal I commune, told The Post on October 14 that the district had a lot of homeless people and drug addicts, prompting governor Sok Penh Vuth to make the move.

Phsar Kandal I commune authorities started rounding people up on October 14, while in other communes the process have been happening gradually.

He said the commune also had many homeless people and drug addicts, especially along the river. The reason the governor ordered the roundup, he said, was because authorities were concerned about security at night and Covid-19 transmission.

“At first, we were afraid of being infected with Covid-19 and were also worried that they would fight back. It is difficult. So, the district authorities cooperate on this work,” he added.

Duong Davan, the first deputy chief of Phsar Thmei 3 commune, said she accompanied the district governor in rounding up 13 homeless people on October 13 and will continue the work.

“We are rounding up them up in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and we do not want them staying in front of people’s houses to make them afraid [of transmission]. We do this regularly because there are complaints from residents,” she said.

District governor Penh Vuth could not be reached for comment on October 13.

The Kampuchea Thmey newspaper on October 13 reported that in order to remove the homeless, especially drug addicts, from Daun Penh district, Penh Vuth ordered the 11 communes to round them up, resulting in 35 people being detained. Medical workers tested them for Covid-19, with one testing positive.