World Cambodia bans media coverage from Covid lockdown 'red zones'
Cambodia kept coronavirus in check for a year. Now as infections surge, people in lockdown go hungry
After a relatively smooth first year of the pandemic, Cambodia is trying to control its most serious outbreak, while thousands of people go hungry in a harsh lockdown.Now, the South-East Asian nation is not only trying to control its most serious outbreak, it's dealing with a simultaneous crisis, with tens of thousands of people under lockdown running out of food.
Cambodia on Tuesday ordered journalists to stop reporting from blockaded coronavirus "red zones" and from chasing ambulances as the country battles against a record surge in infections.
The country has seen Covid-19 cases surge since February, when an outbreak was first detected among its Chinese expatriate community.
On Tuesday, officials announced a record 938 new infections, bringing the total cases to 16,299 with 107 deaths.
Authorities have transformed schools and wedding party halls into covid treatment centres as hospitals are running out of beds and Prime Minister Hun Sen warned the country was "on the brink of death" from the virus outbreak.
Cambodia: Environmental activists sentenced to sentences from 18 to 20 months of prison
© AFP - Tang Chhin Sothy Wednesday 5 May, five young activists of the Mother Nature Cambodia Environmental Defense Group were sentenced to sentences of 18 and 20 months in prison by the Municipal Court of Phnom Penh. In Cambodia, the activities of courts have been slowing since the country faces its first real COVID-19 case wave.
Phnom Penh and adjacent city Ta Khmau have been under lockdown for 20 days and the government has announced the blanket would end from Thursday.
But authorities said areas with high infection rates would remain under lockdown.
Police have set up blockades around red zones barring residents from leaving their homes, except on medical reasons.
On Tuesday the information ministry ordered journalists to immediately stop reporting from the red zones, warning they would face prosecution.
The ministry said some journalists had reported from red zones and banned areas such as treatment centres and hospitals.
It also said some had "chased ambulances" and caused confusion and unrest.
The order comes as residents living in red zones complained about food shortages and took to social media to appeal for essential aid.
Cambodia’s Indigenous ecotourism weighed down by virus fears
Tourism has helped Indigenous communities improve their lives and protect the forests. COVID-19 has put both at risk.It is early March and the largest wave of COVID-19 to hit the country is just starting – although no one knows yet just how bad it will get – and Samai watches as a group of domestic tourists stream out of a bright white van, and walk past her stall on their way to the lake’s edge.
Rights group Amnesty International issued a strong condemnation of Cambodia's lockdown measures last week, saying they had left many people to go hungry and humanitarian groups had been barred from distributing food and other essential aid.
"The Cambodian government's outrageous mishandling of this COVID-19 lockdown is causing untold suffering and sweeping human rights violations across the country," said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director.
"Right now, residents of 'red zones' and others in Cambodia are going hungry because of fundamentally unreasonable policies."
Cambodian authorities have asked residents in the red zones to apply for food aid and said they distributed rice and canned fishes to tens of thousands of household each day.
Forget the Myanmar crisis. Trading partners are what matters in what passes for Australian diplomacy in South-East Asia .
DFAT's top bureaucrat has failed to call out Min Aung Hlaing over the coup in Myanmar, with Australia instead focused firmly on trade.On April 21, Adamson delivered an address to the Asia Society on South-East Asia. Keen to highlight her department’s latest lurch towards our closest neighbours, it laid out a raft of apparently well-funded initiatives, many tied up with the pandemic and its aftermath.