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Suspension Extension Likely for Phnom Penh’s High-Risk Businesses

Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh’s current administrative measures for high-risk businesses expire on Saturday and it would seem likely that another extension will be announced. The Phnom Penh Capital Administration declared another 14-day extension to the closure of those businesses deemed at high risk of infection two weeks ago, but events this week would suggest that authorities will not want to announce a full reopening of the capital just yet.

The writing on the wall first appeared on Monday, with a cluster outbreak of Covid-19 at the popular BKK Market in BKK 1. Over a hundred cases have been confirmed. The market has been closed until a week on Tuesday. Just two days later, a hardware vendor tested positive at Russian Market.

Almost daily, there are also warnings being issued about Covid-positive patients visiting banks, restaurants and upmarket stores and the country’s case count has rocketed this week. On Wednesday, it reported its highest daily number of new cases at 1,130. On Thursday it was 999 and on Friday was 966. This week has also seen the country’s highest daily death toll at 32. The Prime Minister and the Health Ministry have been urging caution and vigilance this week, even for those who have already been vaccinated in the capital, which will end its inoculation drive on the 8th of July.

What this all means is that it is extremely unlikely that gyms, massage parlours, KTVs, bars, beer gardens, cinemas and museums will be allowed to reopen on Sunday. They’ve been closed since March. Schools also remain shuttered – although the relevant ministries are discussing a reopening plan, but that won’t be until August at the earliest.

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