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PM Asks Citizens to Understand his Deciding to Suspend Pchum Ben Festival This Year

Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, has asked for the people to understand the Royal Government's decision to suspend the 2021 Pchum Ben Festival, saying that this difficult decision is only to protect the lives of people from Covid-19.

In a message this morning, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the situation of Covid-19 in 2021 is different from last year because Cambodia is currently suffering from the events of February 20. Plus the country is also plagued by Covid Delta.

He continued that he really couldn’t let the festival go ahead see his people die due to negligence.

He said: “Half of the pagodas in Phnom Penh are infected with Covid, so from Ben 4 until the end of Pchum Ben they will stay closed. How dangerous is this situation? Really serious, and really a disaster for public health and people's lives. This is big field, and the third field is the epidemic field that our people have to go through.”

He continued that his decision was unreasonably attacked by some opposition groups, but what he should do now is to save the lives of the people of Cambodia rather than respond to them.

On September 23, the Royal Government of Cambodia decided to suspend the Kan Ben and Pchum Ben ceremonies from the 4th Ben (September 25) until Pchum Ben on October 7, 2021. Citizens had gathered at pagodas to celebrate Kan Ben, failing to ensure proper implementation of health safety measures that could put Cambodia at risk of a large-scale outbreak of Covid-19 across the country.

According to a report by the Ministry of Health, as of September 23, the second day of the Cambodian Pchum festival, there were 822 new cases of Covid, a daily increase of more than 200 cases.

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