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Public forums temporarily halted in capital and Kandal

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, Ministry of Interior.

The Ministry of Interior has banned public forums in Phnom Penh and Kandal province for two weeks in a bid to prevent COVID-19 from spreading into the community.

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The move came, as a bodyguard assigned to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, two senior Cambodian officials and the Hungarian Ambassador to Cambodia, tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in contact with Szijjártó during the “November 3 incident”.

Recently the COVID-19 situation in Phnom Penh and Kandal has had high risk of spreading into the local community, the Ministry of Interior said in a letter yesterday sent to Phnom Penh and Kandal governors.

It said they needed to be highly cautious and pay attention to firmly carrying out the Ministry of Health’s preventative measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“To carry out COVID-19 prevention in timely manner and to take care of public health and social safety, the Ministry of Interior’s Administration General Directorate would like to request Phnom Penh and Kandal governors to temporarily suspend public forum and other meetings with a large number of people’s attendances for two weeks, being organised by the administrations of the Phnom Penh and Kandal and districts and communes of the capital and the province,” the letter said.

The ministry also urged Phnom Penh and Kandal administrations to continue to regularly carry out COVID-19 preventive measures at their working places, as instructed by the government and the ministry.

Ministry of Interior secretary of state Sak Setha told Khmer Times yesterday that the public forums would be held when the “November 3 incident” ends.

He said the move will not affect the people’s problem-solving through this forum, as their issues are addressed every day by local authorities through other means.

“I speculate that we have around one month left in which public forum could be conducted this year,” Setha said. “Importantly, COVID-19 transmission is more complicated. If we are not careful enough, we fear it will spread into the community.”

Besides public forums, people can raise their issues, concerns, complaints, and comments through local councillors, the ministry’s website and Facebook page, and district ombudsmen offices, he said.

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