The centuries-old Angkor temple complex in Cambodia is being temporarily closed for two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak in the country. The Apsara Authority, the government agency that oversees the archaeological site, said in a statement that the temple complex would be closed at least until April 20th to both local and foreign visitors. Authorities have been taking a number of measures to try to control the spike in the number of contagion cases seen since February. Some of the restrictions include a two-week, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., curfew in Phnom Penh.
According to the Associated Press, Cambodia has recorded a total of 3,028 cases, including 23 deaths. On Thursday April 8th, the Health Ministry announced 113 new local cases and two deaths. The ministry has traced the latest outbreak to a foreign resident who did not comply with the quarantine rule in a hotel and went to a nightclub in early February. Later that month, the government announced a planned two-week closure of all public schools, cinemas, bars and entertainment venues in the capital, Phnom Penh. As the number of cases rose, the closures were extended throughout the country for schools, gyms, concert halls, museums and other gathering places.
At this time, Cambodia allows international tourists to enter the country but they are required to undergo a mandatory quarantine before being able to move freely. The Associated Press reports that a defunct luxury hotel in the capital has been converted into a 500-room coronavirus hospital, and the authorities are enforcing a new law imposing criminal punishment for violating health rules. The use of face masks is now mandatory in Phnom Penh and four of the country’s most densely populated provinces.
With a population of about 17 million, Cambodia has decided to expand its vaccine campaign, with the goal of vaccinating one million people per month beginning in April. Cambodia had acquired more than 3.1 million doses of vaccines from China and through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative.
The Angkor site, in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, attracted more than 2 million foreign tourists in 2019. In 2020, international arrivals dropped dramatically due to the travel restrictions triggered by the pandemic.