Cambodia cancels Khmer New Year celebrations


By DPA Time of article publishedApr 7, 2020

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Phnom Penh – Cambodia has cancelled one of its most widely celebrated public holidays, Khmer New Year, which was set for next week, to limit the spread of Covid-19, local media reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the four-day holiday, beginning on Monday, would be pushed back to a later date while employees of government institutions and private companies that remain open should work as usual, the Khmer Times reported.

During Khmer New Year festivities, Cambodians typically travel to their home provinces to visit and share meals with family and friends, while also visiting Buddhist pagodas to make offerings and pay their respects to monks.

But this year, with religious gatherings banned and most venues that could host large groups shut due to the global pandemic, revellers were expected to celebrate the festival at home.

“The government wants to reduce the travelling of people to prevent the spread of infection from one place to another,” Hun Sen said during a press conference on Tuesday, as cited by the Khmer Times.

He said the measure was to prevent people from contracting the virus.

“The most safe places are at working places,” he added.

Cambodia and neighbouring countries have restricted cross-border travel, while the south-east Asian nation has also closed schools, bars, cinemas, museums and, other venues.

As of Tuesday, Cambodia has reported 115 infections since January, with about half of those who tested positive having recovered. No deaths linked to the respiratory illness have been reported in the country.



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