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National Police orders enforcement against large new year gatherings

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
People join folk games during a previous Khmer New Year celebration. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The National Police has directed all officers to make sure people do not celebrate the upcoming Khmer New Year with large gatherings to prevent any spread of the coronavirus.

National Police chief General Neth Savoeun issued the order, instructing officers to go on patrols to check on Khmer New Year’s celebrations from April 13 to 16.

Prime Minister Hun Sen recently announced the government will cancel all celebrations of the Angkor Sankranta festival nationwide but will allow Khmer New Year to be observed on a small scale.

In his directive, Gen Savoeun reminded officers about the prohibition on public gatherings, saying celebrations should only be held by the public in their homes.

“Officers will be assigned to monitor and patrol [the streets] to prevent any mass gatherings, whether for parties or religious activities,” he said.

He also ordered local police and relevant authorities to work hand in hand in tracking and monitoring the health of the migrant workers who have returned to Cambodia for the New Year in accordance with the Health Ministry’s directive on COVID-19 prevention measures.

Gen Savoeun also instructed police officers all over the country to ensure public order and security during the Khmer New Year and organise patrols to combat crimes and regulate traffic, especially since many people tend to leave the capital for their home provinces to spend the holidays with their families.

Cults and Religion Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said yesterday the ministry will abide by the government’s directive to not allow gatherings at pagodas.

Sin Sithat, a Phnom Penh resident, said yesterday: “My family will be gathering at home with a small group of people for the Khmer New Year and we will not have any loud party or dance party. We will follow the government’s instruction to stay at home.”

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