Siem Reap governor: Follow Covid measures, or else

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Siem Reap provincial governor Tea Seiha. FACEBOOK

Siem Reap provincial governor Tea Seiha has warned that his administration will take action against anyone violating the province’s local Covid-19 preventive measures even though they have now withdrawn all red and orange zone designations for locales within their jurisdiction.

Seiha said that on October 1 his officials had returned 166 motorbikes, 4 cars and two tuk-tuks to their owners after all of those vehicles were impounded by police officers enforcing the province’s curfew and travel ban recently.

"We have not imposed any fines or further punishments for now, but in the future we will tighten application of these laws. But there will be no more lockdowns. If people violate the administrative measures, I will take strict legal actions against them by imposing fines on them, but for certain offenses such as those who refuse to wear masks or who gather together illegally, those people I will arrest,” he said.

Seiha confirmed that Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that all sub-national authorities lift red zone or lockdown status from any portions of the territory they administer because it was causing undue hardship for those residents without apparently accomplishing much in terms of preventing the further spread of the virus.

According to Seiha, from October 1 going forward the provincial authorities were inspecting all shops, restaurants and public places to ensure that social distancing is being respected at all times.

"For shop owners, restaurants or other services, please temporarily suspend business activities until our team inspects your business first. And if your business is one of the types not allowed to reopen, please do not begin running your business yet.

“I would also request that restaurants continue to serve people take-away or delivery only and refrain from allowing people to dine in their establishments.

"Even though we will no longer be facing lockdowns, that doesn’t mean that the risk isn’t still there or that the situation has improved.

"Furthermore, we will no longer be doing Covid-19 testing for free for everyone, so if you suspect that you may be infected please self-administer a rapid test to confirm it or contact the authorities for further instructions,” Seiha said.

Seiha posted on his Facebook page on September 30 that the provincial administration was working to bring Siem Reap back to its original state prior to the pandemic when record numbers of local and international tourists were visiting the area so that jobs will return, incomes will recover and increase and the rising prosperity will lift the province’s fortunes and people’s spirits once again.

"It is unfortunate that in the past there were a small number of people who did not follow the instructions of the government and health ministry or our provincial authorities. Their negligence about protecting themselves and others from this virus is exactly what caused the disease to spread.

“I will request to the Prime Minister that he consider designating areas as red zones again if the people in those areas violate the three do’s and three don’ts measures and risk putting another wave of community transmission into motion that could once again sweep across Cambodia leaving death in its wake like the last time,” he said.