Cambodia is using wedding halls for COVID patients as cases rise

A view of a closed market during a 14-day lockdown across the city in response to an increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 17, 2021. REUTERS / Cindy Liu / File Photo

Cambodia began setting up thousands of hospital beds in two wedding ceremonies on Sunday to cope with the influx of COVID-19 patients in a country that until recently had largely managed to contain infections.

Cambodia reported a daily record of 618 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said. The number of infections rose after an outbreak first noted in late February.

The new numbers brought the total to 6,389. Until recently, Cambodia had one of the lowest infection rates in the world. There have been 43 deaths reported in the past two months.

“The Ministry of Health has decided to use the Premiere Center Sen Sok to prepare the Covid-19 treatment center, which can accommodate more than 1,500 Covid-19 patients,” said Cambodian national television TVK on Sunday, citing a health official .

Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the State Department and the Department of Health, said she was engaged in a meeting and had no immediate comment on a Reuters request. Health Minister Mam Bunheng could not be reached for comment.

Pictures in local media showed Mam Bunheng visiting one of Vimean Piphob Thmey Sensok’s wedding venues when police were setting up hospital beds. A Reuters photographer was refused entry and was due to come back next week.

Earlier this week, the government turned another venue at the Koh Pich Convention & Exhibition Center into a field hospital with about 1,800 beds.

Phnom Penh and a satellite district of the capital were locked down Thursday to contain the spread of infection.

Under the lockdown, most people are prohibited from leaving the house for two weeks except to go to work, buy groceries, or get medical treatment.

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