Prostrate to all monks,
Today, I have another urgent message to our monks and compatriots, especially those residing in Phnom Penh and Kandal Province. On the 20th, I did not ask you to take strict measures because (we were) monitoring (the Februrary-20 Covid-19 community outbreak) events (and its) developments. In the past three days, the number of cases has continued to rise. The number of places to be closed and searched has become more difficult and spread to more clutters, which requires us to take a number of other necessary measures, including the first proposed one by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports to close schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal for at least 2 weeks. This is a protective response for (the sake of our) teachers, students in Phnom Penh and Kandal province as well. Both public and private schools have to do the same. The Minister of Education, Youth and Sports will announce soon.
At the same time, I am taking this opportune moment to appeal to those who are planning to have a wedding, if it can be postponed, please postpone (to a later time), if not, please reduce the number of people to a minimum as possible. This measure is responding to the large-scale infection that has led to growing operations so far. We have noted more targets to look for and to control. I really understand the difficulties of those who have already chosen the time for their sons and daughters’ marriages. So, please postpone if you can. If you cannot, please reduce the number of participants to maintain health measures, that is, to keep the safety distance. You are doing this to avoid (celebrating a) marriage only to have the spread of disease in newly married families.
I would also like to call on people (involved in the February-20 community outbreak event), including taxi drivers, motorbike taxi drivers, tricycles or PassApps drivers, in the affected areas, to cooperate by coming out and getting samples for testing and preparing for quarantines. I beg you, the people of our Phnom Penh, if it is not necessary, please do not go outside to avoid an invisible spread.
(The situation), we can say, is more difficult now than the November-3 and November-28 (events), because though we see some light, but there are still areas in darkness that we have not yet identified. In institutions, meetings can be postponed. If not, please do them online. I also need to consult with Samdech Krala Hom Sar Kheng (about the program at the Ministry of Interior) and perhaps cancel the program to inaugurate a hotel in Phnom Penh because the situation has required us to concentrate our thought and efforts to maintain good order. This outbreak is quite serious as it hits the capital, the heart of the country.
I am not closing down economic activities such as factories, enterprises, restaurants, but seeking your attentions in organizing and taking social safety distance. I continue to have the governors of cities, towns and provinces with empowerment to close restaurants or shops that do not comply with the rules of the Ministry of Health. We do this so that you can continue to do business and keep your income, but we must do it in a way that our country and people are safe from Covid-19 infection.
Of course, it is difficult, but it is necessary that we cannot fail to carry out. I would instruct His Excellency the Mayor of Phnom Penh to continue to distribute masks to the poor, like in the markets, and other places where they lack masks. Those who already have masks, they must put them on while in the road. Please think about your own safety and health, starting with the individual. Masks are an easy way to solve problems, either medical masks, fabric masks, as well as scarves. Please use them to stay safe in this difficult situation.
Of course, three days ago, on February 20, I did not put in place these measures (because) we were (examining) the extent of the spread. So far, (the infection) has not diminished. The number of infections in the community is still high and regarding samples (taken) with the cooperation of all stakeholders, the number remains high. This evening, we have already found 13 cases and the machines have not been completing their jobs yet.
In just three days, the number of infections has risen to nearly 100, the highest number since the disease hit our country. I am appealing to and seeking understanding from all the monks and people in Phnom Penh and Kandal province to delay the planning trips to Phnom Penh to give Phnom Penh a chance to deal with this problem. That would avoid traffic congestion, which is also one of the reasons for the transmission.
Please circulate my message as quickly and soon as possible, especially this voicemail to the monks and people living in Phnom Penh and Kandal Province, as well as the people all over the country. I have indeed hesitation (on placing such order) but I have no choice but to take some of the measures as already mentioned. Thank you./.