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43 schools in three provinces used as quarantine centres

Tith Kongnov and Chea Vanyuth / Khmer Times Share:
Phnom Penh Municipal police and health authorities manages to track down the Cambodian-American man who tried to escape quarantine at the Long Live Hotel on Sunday. TVK

The studies of more than 30,000 students have been affected by their schools being taken as quarantine centres for Cambodian migrant workers returning from Thailand, especially now with the numbers increasing every day.

The students are from 43 schools in the provinces of Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang.

Oddar Meanchey Provincial Department of Education director, Pech Ratana said that in his province 15 schools have been used as quarantine centres and proactive measures are being taken to transfer the affected students to other schools near their houses in the province.

“This is to make sure that the studies of these students are not affected. We have already transferred some students to other schools while efforts are being taken to find schools for the remaining children,” he added.

He said they have initiated measures to also allocate more time for these students to catch up with their studies while providing distance learning and study materials for them.

Banteay Meanchey Provincial Department of Education director Chhou Bunroeung, said that more than 13,000 students from 14 schools in nine locations have been affected this week when their schools were taken as quarantine centres.

He added that the Ministry of Education is looking into re-locating these students to other schools near their homes in the province.

However, he pointed out that while high school students who are given schools near to their houses will have to go to school, kindergarten children, especially in Thmar Puok district, and primary school children will have their teachers come over to their place to teach.

Battambang Provincial Department of Education director Yi Sungky, said with an increasing number of migrant workers returning to  Cambodia since November 20, last year, the authorities have identified more than 19 schools to be used as quarantine centres.

However, he added, that only 14 schools have been used which has affected 19,550 students and 706 teachers.

As of today, seven of the affected schools are scheduled to be reopened while the remaining schools in the border districts such as in Kamrieng and Phnom Proek districts will be delayed in its opening,” Sungky said.

On January 16, the Education Ministry and the authorities have been finding places such as pagodas, people’s houses, private schools and even open land for students to study temporarily.

Ros Soveacha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education told Khmer Times yesterday that the use of schools as quarantine centres will affect the academic performance of the affected students.

“The schools taken as quarantine centres are still enrolling students and they will be sent to schools near the houses and they will be taught in small groups or study online or teachers can teach in one of the students’ houses.

Migrant workers returning from Thailand who will be sent to Siem Reap province for testing and quarantine. TVK

As of January 13, a total of 43 schools were taken at the three provinces as quarantine centres and Education Ministry has been inspecting and consolidating these  premises  to provide students with proper access to study after the antimicrobial spraying is carried out by the Ministry of Health.

He added that the Minister had requested the provincial, municipal, district governors,  commune and village chiefs to take additional measures to manage and monitor migrants workers in the community.

Meanwhile, a 36-year old Cambodian-American man who was staying in Silver Mounts Hotel upon arrival on January 12 had on Friday fled the premises in Chamkar Mon district after having his breakfast.

When the hotel informed the authorities, the Phnom Penh Municipal police and the local authorities mounted a search and found him yesterday at another hotel, said the secretary of State Youk Sambath.

The health authorities took a COVID-19 swab test on the man again and placed him at the Phnom Penh quarantine Centre in Prek Pnov for 14 days.

This is not the first time that people escaped from the quarantine centres. In July 2020, a Cambodian-American woman also fled the quarantine centre in Phnom Penh, but was found by authorities in Kampong Cham province.

Meanwhile, Cambodian and Thailand have agreed to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation on human trafficking prevention, having completed the draft of the agreement on cooperation on law implementation on human trafficking crackdown.

This was made in a virtual meeting between Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state of Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior and her Thai counterpart yesterday.

Bun Eng, who is also the Permanence Vice-Chairwoman of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, said that the draft agreement is to unable the neighbouring countries to enhance their cooperation on the crackdown of human trafficking or border crossing crimes.

“Not only the Cambodian government is concerned about its migrant workers currently in Thailand of facing human trafficking problems but also the Thai government and that is why the two governments decided to draft the agreement to prevent human trafficking,” Bun Eng said

She said the risk of workers facing human trafficking is high with the coronavirus crisis.

The draft will now be tabled for feedback from leaders of the two governments.


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