Dear Compatriots Living in Phnom Penh and Takhmao,
Today there was little turmoil before the Royal Government’s decision to close down Phnom Penh and Takhmao. The purpose of the closure was to combat the spread of Covid-19, and the process of closing down would not bring about deaths or sufferings to our people. Despite the impacts, we have thought in advanced about how, despite closing down, our people can go on living a rather normal life. Once closed, everyone must apply (prohibition to) travel out of/leave homes or residences when it is not necessary. They may still do so if it is necessary … such as in the case of traveling to works or for businesses, or businesses in the lockdown areas not prohibited in Article 3 (of the decision) while presenting relevant documents.
Traveling to food shops or grocery stores or daily necessities authorized by the competent authority (etc.) … may be made by a maximum of two members per residence or location and no more than three times a week to the nearest ones within your geographical area or district. You must present your identity cards or ID cards. Coming to this point, that food stalls, groceries and daily necessities will be allowed to (continue to operations), you may all be aware that … (this) is not a closure to starve people of food to death.
Traveling to the hospital, to the health center, to the pharmacy or emergency room in a lockdown areas is still possible. You may want to see the details outlined in the said decision of the Royal Government. The process of taking samples of Covid-19 virus and getting vaccination is functioning normally in the lockdown areas, meaning that the vaccination sites in Phnom Penh or Takhmao are still in operations. As usual, travelling for the sake of participating in activities for public interest or other necessary purposes at the request of the public authority is still possible. Individual sports activities in the geographical area where you live, avoiding gatherings of more than two people, is possible. You can still exercise in your village, but please do not go beyond the village and do not have too many people together.
Travel of diplomats, travel of journalists with documents (of certification); air travel; travel for other necessary reasons with the permission of the authorities are also possible in the lockdown circle. By outlining these points, you will be able to understand the real purpose of the Royal Government (that it was not for the purpose of) killing people. Of course, I must apologize that while we have yet to decide on the matter, some irresponsible persons in the leadership of the party and the state leaked the news, which I sincerely admit that the action taken to discipline it later when we find out.
Another point to emphasize here is that businesses in Phnom Penh considered not necessary will be closing. There is an exception though that the works/activities of public institutions and the armed forces must continue. It is unavoidable but there have to have a small number of people and the head of the relevant institutions are taking responsibility. Factories, handicrafts or food and beverage production facilities, including slaughterhouses, which are for daily necessity, must continue to operate. We are willing to close garment factories, footwear factories and other factories, but we must allow operations of factories that produce food, such as a noodle, fish sauce and/or cattle/pig slaughterhouses. People must continue to sell their fishes in Phnom Penh and Takhmao.
Works/activities related to public services as defined by the institutions, such as firefighting services, electricity supply, clean water, solid waste collection and transportation services, etc. (will continue). So do not worry about electricity, clean water or garbage collection. They are still normal activities. Gasoline sales must also continue. What the daily needs of the people continue. Even the banks will be open to allow our people to withdraw cash. Online business, online supply is still allowed. Commodities, grocery stores, wholesalers, orderly grocery stores such as marts, restaurants, canteens selling packaged food, fuel, gas, or other daily necessities of the people continue to operate.
The supply of services on a daily basis includes emergency services, health services, pharmacies, post offices, telecommunications, banking and financial services, and daily necessities services with the permission of the competent authorities (will continue). However, we need to cut down number of staff. Hotel and guesthouse services also need to be operational … Freight services are necessary to serve the geographical area in lockdown. General freight/transportation services in/out or through lockdown geographical areas to serve the socio-economic sectors of the country and other necessary trade, occupation or business activities will operate with the permission of the competent authority.
What I have said above are all activities that we have shut down, but we have not completely killed the economic and social activities of the people. Unlike some countries (where lockdown implementation activities) did not allow people to leave their homes. We call for people not to leave their homes, but we also understand the needs of people who need to get out of their homes.
In the time to implement lockdown measures, prohibition are on gatherings or rallying, but gatherings or getting together of family or cohort members living in the same residence or lodge, family reunions in the same residence, are not. Organizing funerals in accordance with competent authorities’ instruction, rallying people, gathering of health workers to implement health measures, for example, testing for Covid-19 virus, Covid-19 vaccination, and gathering of health workers, emergency works, gatherings of competent authorities, commanding forces, all levels of administration, maintenance of security, order and public order (are all possible).
What we need now is that you stay in the house while there is no need to go out, and if there is a need, as I have already said and informed from above, we do not lock you in to die. The municipal authorities are also preparing to carry out relief work for the poorest people. We have set up a mechanism, and this time led by HE Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, as chairman of the committee and there are a number of other members to implement this necessary measure.
Only with everyone’s participation (will bring us success). I call on the people not to panic with the situation as it happened this evening. If you have seen and studied the Royal Government’s decision, you do not have to worry too much. The text of the decision that I just signed a little earlier, covers everything, but I would like to emphasize that there will be no shortage of rice, no shortage of salt, no shortage of food supply for Phnom Penh. Vegetables supply that used to come from Kandal province to Phnom Penh may continue to come in for distribution to provide for through the Committee that will organize and arrange it as time arrives/comes. Transporting pigs to the slaughterhouse, supplying meat to the city is still possible – a necessity in providing for livelihoods.
Of course, some activities must be closing at once, such as shops selling non-essential like clothing stores, etc., other than food. Now is the time to pause … take a break and stay at home. We need to make sure sale of food to eat, clean water, orange juice or mineral water to drink, for fish, pork, beef, vegetables, etc. will stay. We encourage food production at this moment. May HE Khuong Sreng pay attention to the people in the poor areas and provide them with relief. His Excellency Aun Porn Moniroth reported to me that rice is ready. I beg those who sell rice do not take this time to increase the price. I urge the Ministry of Commerce to bring rice into the market to avoid rice traders taking advantage of this opportunity. We needed to release (instant) noodles and other state-owned goods to ensure supply in the market and sell to the people at a reasonable price. We cannot let commodity prices go up arbitrarily. Please endure for 14 days so that we can cut off the transmission and please do not leave the house when it is not necessary. If necessary, you must take medical measures – wear a mask and keep a safe distance.
I urge you to be patient during this time. We suffer short-term pain better than long-term one. My family has to go to charity and also have to stop traveling and cannot leave home. I have already banned my children from leaving their homes. Some of my grandchildren took refuge with me in Takhmao, but they could not afford to leave. This is a strict regulation. In case of necessity, our brothers and sisters can still go out, for example, to get vaccinated, go out for medical treatment, etc. You can still come out with clear specifications, and we will practice with firmness and flexibility.
What I suggest is not just for Phnom Penh. In the provinces now (there are) widespread and uncontrollable gatherings for eating and drinking. As for the drinking group, I would call on the whole country to stop selling alcohol to avoid eating and drinking. In Phnom Penh, alcohol is not considered a type of food. Of course, wine or beer is considered a type of food. However, I would like to request that in Phnom Penh, suspend the sale of wine and beer for 14 days. Please sell orange juice, pure water, anything other than alcohol to our people.
I am calling on our people to work together to end this dangerous event. We are on the brink of death. If we do not work together, we will eventually die. The only way (to avoid that) is with the cooperation of the state and the people, especially the support and participation of the people. The state will continue to supplement through the leadership of the commission, especially HE Aun Porn Moniroth, continue to review and propose adjustments and establishment of sub-committees (to look into relevant issues regarding) where to loosen and tighten. Please submit (those) requests to me or the commission can sign it right away. I hope that we turn this time (that we are) at the brink of death into a new opportunity after the 14-day New Year to reduce (pandemic) transmission.
Please note that by this time we have more than 300 infected people, so many that we ran out of space. We are in the process of transporting patients to the hospital. If you do not take care of your health, you will be in danger. Not just going to the hospital, death happens every day. The death toll has risen significantly. The number of infected people is also increasing. Today, there are more than 300 infected people. Very scary. Therefore, the closure of Phnom Penh and Takhmao is a necessary measure.
The Ministry of Labor must clearly define which factories, and which factories to keep. What I want to emphasize is that food-related factories must operate, such as noodle factories or bakeries, and shops that sell this type of food, the authorities must monitor the sale … (by) avoiding accumulation of buyers into crowds. We have to help with security gaps in places like AEON1 and AEON2 or orderly markets that we are still open. We needed to say that for the market capacity to allow 100 people in at once, we should only allow 50 people to enter at a time. We have to have our security along with the security of the store to … to avoid the intrusion in the store that leads to the infections, thus to closure of the shops/stores themselves. How many stores do we open in Phnom Penh? Every store must have safety distance rule. (If) 100 people (can come in at once), 50 or 30 people are allowed to enter first. Thirty came out, 30 went out. (We must make sure people) keep the distance in there […]
… I am deeply saddened that as I issued the order for this arrangement, an irresponsible person leaked it. This leak shocked the feelings of the people. That was contrary to my purpose and that of the Royal Government that make this lockdown decision. (The state) has a proper supply arrangement so that you do not run out of food, do not run out of electricity. Services, including litter collection, are still available. Even exercise can still be done, but it is good to exercise in the yard, and if there is no yard in the house, we can walk nearby the house … but please do not go too far and not more than two people. Please pay attention to this issue and study the decision regarding the geographical lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takhmao city of Kandal province clearly to understand the real meaning and all relevant authorities must be strict but gentle, and help serve our people. Thank you./.