Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has called for understanding from his compatriots over the suspension of the Kan Ben and Pchum Ben Festivals in order to contain and prevent the COVID-19 spread, especially the fast-spreading Delta variant.

This is a difficult decision, but it will ensure the lives and health of each individual as well as the public health and guarantee that the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Cambodia is under control, he explained in a voice message today.

COVID-19 confirmed cases have been found in almost 50 percent of pagodas in Phnom Penh capital, he said, continuing that only in the first three days of the ongoing Kan Ben Festival, the number of infections at pagoda saw an increase, while the country’s daily cases rose to over 800 and the daily death cases to over 20.

The situation in 2021 is different from that of 2020, and because of the Feb. 20 community outbreak, more than 100.000 have been infected and over 2,000 has died, he added, stressing “This is a tragedy for our citizens.”

Samdech Techo Hun Sen took the opportunity to remind his compatriots of the health safety rules, particularly the “3 Dos, 3 Don’ts” measure, underlined that vaccination alone is not enough.

On Sept. 23, the Royal Government of Cambodia has announced to suspend the celebrations of Kan Ben and Pchum Ben Festivals from Sept. 25 or the 4th day of Kan Ben until the Pchum Ben Day.

Anyway, the annual three-day holiday of Pchum Ben Festival will remain effective, it underlined, advising all municipal and provincial administrations to ensure that all pagodas have foods and other necessary stuff during this period.

The government explained that the suspension is based on the necessity to continue managing the COVID-19 spread, particularly to protect people’s lives and health while the country is reopening schools and making plans to reopen the country in the future.

Cambodians started the two-week-long Kan Ben Festival on Sept. 22 in the pagodas throughout the country. Kan Ben is part of “Pchum Ben” Festival or the Festival for the Dead, one of the biggest festivals in Buddhism, which falls on the fifteenth day of Kan Ben, or on Oct. 6 this year. During this 15-day religious event, people take turns to offer food to monks at pagoda in hope that the offerings will reach the souls of their ancestors by virtue of the Buddhist monk sermons.

As of this morning, Cambodia’s COVID-19 tally increased to 108,257 after the detection of 816 new cases, of which 100,182 have recovered and 2,218 have died.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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