PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia is set to launch a lockdown in eight provinces bordering Thailand from midnight on Thursday, in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country.
Prime Minister Hun Sen signed an order late on Wednesday for the lockdown, which bans people from leaving their homes, gathering in groups and conducting business, except for those involved in operating airlines.
“The temporary lockdown… aims to prevent community-based transmission of the new COVID Delta variant,” Hun Sen said in the order posted on Facebook.
Border checkpoints with Thailand will also be closed except to allow for the transport of goods and in emergencies, Hun Sen said, adding the lockdown was due to run until Aug. 12.
The provinces affected are Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap.
Cambodia managed to largely contain the virus for most of last year, but an outbreak first detected in late February has driven up total cases to 75,152, with 1,339 deaths.
Neighbouring Thailand has also faced a stubborn outbreak driven by the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, and has repeatedly reported record numbers of daily infections in recent weeks.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Ed Davies)