Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has voiced his concern over possible increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 after Kan Ben and Pchum Ben Festivals, after nearly 50 new cases were detected in two pagodas in Phnom Penh on the first day of Kan Ben Festival.

“I am very concerned that after Pchum Ben, the number of infections and deaths would rise, not only in cities, but also at rural areas, which poses a risk to the nation because people move between the capital and provinces, which would destroy our anti-COVID-19 efforts, especially our plan to reopen all classes,” stressed the Premier in a voice message shared this afternoon.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen asked the Board of Buddhist monks and the Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs to urgently pay attention to the measures taken by the Ministry of Health. “If we continue to find new infections in pagodas, the pandemic would not be under control,” he said.

The Prime Minister also requested the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs and other concerned parties to consider whether to postpone the celebrations or reduce/limit the number of people entering pagodas along with health safety rule reinforcement.

Cambodians started the two-week-long Kan Ben Festival yesterday in the pagodas throughout Cambodia. 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.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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