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Religious gatherings banned after COVID-19 infection surges in Cambodia

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Tue March 17, 2020

A Buddhist monk gives a blessing to Buddhists during a ceremony at the pagoda. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Prime Minister Hun Sen today announced a ban on all religious gatherings as COVID-19 infection surges in the Kingdom.

The ban came after 11 Cambodians who had recently returned from a religious congregation in Malaysia tested positive for COVID-19.

In a Health Ministry statement issued today, Mr Hun Sen said that worshippers from all religions, including Muslim, Buddhism, and Christianity are temporarily prohibited from partaking in their gatherings until COVID-19 situation is eased.

Cults and Religion Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said today ministry officials met with all religious leaders in the Kingdom and instructed them to disseminate precautionary measures to their members.

“The ministry has acknowledged the possible COVID-19 outbreak at religious gatherings at pagodas, churches, or other minority ritual sites,” he said. “Therefore, it’s important to educate them about the preventive measures.”

Mr Somony said the ministry also requested the Health Ministry provide hand gels and conduct temperature checks for individuals who wish to visit the pagodas, churches and other minority religion sites.

“The ministry believes that the COVID-19 virus can be contained and people must be aware of how to protect themselves from the infection,” he said.

Mr Somony noted that the ministry is now looking into alternative to ensure that all Buddhist monks are offered food as Khmer New Year is approaching next month.

This follows the PM’s orders to close all KTV clubs and Cinemas.

Religious gatherings banned after COVID-19 infection surges

From: KHMER TIMES, CAMBODIATue March 17, 2020

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