Phnom Penh (AFP)
Cambodia on Tuesday ordered reporters to stop covering stranded coronavirus “red zones” and hunt ambulances as the country battles a record rise in infections.
The country has seen Covid-19 cases increase since February, when an epidemic was first detected among its Chinese expat community.
Officials on Tuesday announced a record 938 new infections, bringing the total number of cases to 16,299 with 107 deaths.
Authorities have turned schools and wedding halls into covid treatment centers as hospitals run out of beds and Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned the country is “on the brink of death” following the outbreak of virus.
Phnom Penh and the neighboring city of Ta Khmau have been stranded for 20 days and the government said coverage would end from Thursday.
But authorities said areas with high infection rates will remain blocked off.
Police have set up roadblocks around red zones preventing residents from leaving their homes, except for medical reasons.
On Tuesday, the Information Ministry ordered journalists to immediately stop reporting from red zones, warning they would risk prosecution.
The ministry said some journalists had reported red zones and no-go areas such as treatment centers and hospitals.
He also said that some had “chased ambulances” and caused confusion and turmoil.
The order comes as residents of red zones have complained of food shortages and have taken to social media for essential help.
Rights group Amnesty International strongly condemned Cambodia’s lockdown measures last week, saying they left many people hungry and humanitarian groups were prevented from distributing food and supplies. other essential aids.
“The outrageous mismanagement of this COVID-19 lockdown by the Cambodian government is causing untold suffering and massive human rights violations across the country,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International Asia-Pacific regional director.
“Right now people in ‘red zones’ and others in Cambodia are starving because of fundamentally unreasonable policies.”
Cambodian authorities have asked residents of red zones to apply for food aid and said they are distributing rice and canned fish to tens of thousands of households every day.
© 2021 AFP