PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia registered a record 841 new coronavirus cases on Monday but Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the end to a blanket lockdown in the capital Phnom Penh and said there would be only be lockdowns in areas where infections have surged.
The Southeast Asian nation has recorded one of the world’s smallest COVID-19 caseloads, but infections have climbed from about 500 in late February to 15,361 now, with a total 106 deaths.
It reported 730 new cases on Sunday and a second highest daily record of 841 on Monday.
Authorities put Phnom Penh and the nearby town of Takhmau, where most of the cases have been recorded, under a hard lockdown on April 15.
“The Royal Government has issued a decision to end the lockdown … from May 6, 2021, replacing it with new measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Hun Sen said on Facebook.
Under the lockdown, authorities declared some districts “red zones”, banning people from leaving their homes, prompting anger among residents and human rights groups over inadequate aid distribution.
The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Cambodia, Li Ailan, warned on Sunday against easing COVID-19 curbs too soon.
“Relaxing #COVID19 measures too fast and too soon means a possible surge,” Ailan said in a tweet.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Nick Macfie)