In order to stop the spread of Covid-19, nearly 30 markets across Phnom Penh and four provinces have been shut down temporarily following occurrences of infectious outbreaks of the virus directly linked to those market locations.
Preah Sihanouk provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearom told The Post on April 20 that the province had shut down two markets – the Phsar Leur Market Sihanoukville and the Sihanoukville Trade Centre. Both are currently scheduled for a closure of 14 days from April 20 to May 3.
“We already shut down the two markets and we are taking testing samples from the vendors there. I have yet to receive a final figure of people who were infected at the markets. We only have the total figure of 445 people infected with Covid-19 in the entire province,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk governor Kuoch Chamroeun on April 20 also sent an emergency message to civil servants and members of the armed forces to spread the word about the Covid-19 outbreak and the necessity of a stay-at-home lockdown and they have been asked to instruct their family members to set an example for others to follow by staying at home.
“Civil servants and members of the armed forces have to set an example for others to follow by staying at home for some time until we cut off the chain of this transmission. Today, we see that a lot of family members have become infected,” he said.
Chamroeun added that if they set an example for others to follow, the transmission will be cut off and the Sihanoukville situation can be brought under control.
As of April 20, in Phnom Penh there have been 12 markets shut down for a minimum 14 day period. The shuttered markets included Orussey Market, Sangkat Phsar Chas, Doeurm Kor Market, Neak Meas Market, Boeung Trabek Plaza, Tuol Sangke Market, Kandal Market, Pochentong Market, Trapang Tloeung Market, Psar Ekreach I, Toul Pongro Market and Century Plaza Market.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said on April 19 that vendors and security guards and others at each of the closed markets had tested positive for Covid-19 and the concentration of groups of people in confined areas like the narrow hallways and cramped stalls in the traditional markets presented a huge problem.
Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak announced the suspension of 10 markets which would continue to allow activity in some of the exterior portions of their grounds.
Ratanak said that the suspended markets include Battambang Central Market (Psa Natt), Boeung Chhouk Market, 13 Makara Market, Apsara Market (Leu Market), Theater Market, Wat Leap Market, Pothivong Market, Phu Pui Shopping Mall, Thmar Koul Market and Chrey Market.
"Some of the goods that are allowed to be sold are vegetables, fish, meat and any food that is a daily necessity, but vendors and customers must implement health measures and maintain social distance while wearing masks and washing their hands,” Rattanak said.
For Kampong Speu, the only market that has been suspended is Kanhcheng Market, according to provincial governor Vei Samnang.
Samnang told The Post on Tuesday that: “In Kampong Speu, there is only one place, Kanhcheng Market, in the provincial town. It is because a Covid-19 positive patient had entered the market. That's why we decided to close it.”
As of April 19, Covid-19 cases related to Orussey Market totalled to 419 infections along with 213 for Phsar Deum Kor Market, 90 for Neak Mas Market, 14 for Boeung Trabek Plaza Market and 48 for Kandal Market, with most of the infected persons being vendors working at those locations.
“Our officials rode motorcycles and in cars spreading the word on speakers around the province every day twice a day in the morning and afternoon so that our citizens protect themselves against it properly, especially the three protections and three don'ts,” Samnang continued.
In Kandal province a few markets have now been shut down including Prekho Market, Takhmao New Market, TaKmao Old Market and Deurm Apil Market.