Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged people not to use superstitious beliefs to try to ward off the deadly COVID-19 or believe false claims there is a drug to cure the disease.
He also warned action will be taken against pharmacies which sell face masks at exorbitant prices.
During a meeting at the Peace Palace with volunteer physicians working to fight the pandemic, Mr Hun Sen said he had been informed recently some people have been using superstitious methods such as burning fires to eradicate the virus, noting this action is very risky.
“Please do not use superstition to combat the COVID-19. I looked through pictures people sent to me and see the citizens are burning campfires to eradicate the virus. It is the dry season now, what if the fire accidentally burns the house? Please do not use superstition,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s call comes following reports people in some provinces are using various superstitious methods to ward off the coronavirus from their villages.
Ros Chenda, a resident of Kratie province’s Chetr Borei district, said yesterday villagers are setting up campfires and scattering salt in front of their houses because they believe these actions can ward off various diseases, including COVID-19 from their village.
“We are doing this by following others due to the fear of infection. Usually if any disease occurs or many poultry die in the village, residents usually set up campfires, scatter salt and shout for the disease to stay away,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen has also called on people not to believe claims that there is a drug to treat COVID-19.
“Even the United States Department of Justice is cracking down on those claiming to sell COVID-19 treatment drugs, and we also have such cases. No one has found a drug to cure this disease yet. In fact, we currently treat patients through boosting their energy level so they will heal quickly and the virus is completely gone,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen also warned the authorities will take legal action by seizing face masks and shutting down any pharmacy that sells the masks for higher prices to take advantage of people who need them to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19.