Police blocked traffic in Phnom Penh to check the passport on April 16.  Photo: Reuters.

Covid-19 Cambodia exerted a ‘great influence’ on people of Vietnamese descent


Chairman of the Khmer Vietnam Association in Cambodia said Covid-19 had a strong outbreak in the central districts of Phnom Penh, where the majority of Vietnamese people used to trade.

The Vietnamese community in Cambodia currently has nearly 30,000 people, mainly concentrated in the districts of Chbar Ampov, Russey Keo and Prek Pnov in the capital Phnom Penh, Mr. Sim Chy, Chairman of the Khmer Vietnam Association in Cambodia, shared with VnExpress. The Covid-19 outbreak led to a blockade that had a heavy impact in the central districts of the capital, which were not inhabited by the majority of Vietnamese Khmer.

“However, the four central districts of the capital are the areas where most people often go to buy and sell, especially the big markets in the area. The situation is thus having a great impact on the Khmer people. Vietnamese descent in Phnom Penh, “he said.

Police blocked traffic in Phnom Penh to check the passport on April 16. Image: Reuters.

The blockade order in the capital Phnom Penh and the neighboring Takhmao region took effect from April 15 to April 28, aimed at restraining the speed of Covid-19 outbreaks in the community and preventing the epidemic from spreading to the provinces. other. On April 18, Cambodia recorded 618 new infections, bringing the total number of cases to 6,389 people, according to the report Reuters.

Orussey Market in central Phnom Penh has an area with a large concentration of Vietnamese small businesses. This place has more bustling trading activities than both Chinese and Khmer communities in the same area. There have been at least 3 cases in the community of Vietnamese origin suffering from Covid-19.

“They have been quarantined by the Cambodian health agency and treated for more than 10 days,” he added.

The couple, Ny Tryhua, a Vietnamese Khmer family living near the Orussey market, said they live across from the quarantine area. The blockade order last week was issued so suddenly that the couple could not prepare in advance. At around 17-18h on April 14, they “saw people carrying things back to heaven, asking if they were about to blockade”.

“My district has a lot of cases. Just across the street you can see people are surrounded. No one in and out. The situation is dangerous, my whole family has not dared to go anywhere from these days,” the husband whose Vietnamese name is Tý, used to work as a tour guide in Phnom Penh before the translation, said by phone.

In the nearly 14 months since the Covid-19 outbreak broke out and Cambodia had to tighten its border control, his family lost income from foreign tourists. The whole family is relying on the small sales of Ny Tryhua, so this blockade makes the economy even more difficult.

Mr. Sim Chy, President of Vietnam Khmer Association in Cambodia.  Character photos provided.

Mr. Sim Chy, President of Vietnam Khmer Association in Cambodia. Character photos provided.

Ouk Channy, a Vietnamese-born tour guide who was born and raised in Cambodia, shared the pandemic that put the family in a dilemma.

“My husband also works in tourism, specializing in Spanish. She works in English and Vietnamese. In Siem Reap, I only live by tourism, if not, it is very difficult”, Ms. Ouk shared.

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, she and her husband earned about 1,000 USD / month on average. This income is no longer available. Not only that, Ms. Ouk borrowed to fix her house in Siem Reap before the epidemic struck. The bank has rescheduled debt, allowing her family to only pay interest each month and suspend principal repayment. However, just a few months after Cambodia tightened its immigration control, the couple could no longer afford to pay bank interest, leading to more debt owed by the husband.

“My family cried without tears,” shared Ouk.

Although somewhat confused about the situation, a large number of Vietnamese people support blockade as a necessary step to control the epidemic. Ms. Ouk agrees if the Cambodian government does not take strong measures, the difficult situation will only prolong.

“Now they will tighten it, but the government still allows people to go to the supermarket. They will block each area with about two supermarkets for people to buy. Lan “, Ms. Ny Tryhua shared, adding that her family is still waiting for her turn to be vaccinated.

The police blockade Orussey market, near an area with many Vietnamese-Americans doing business in Cambodia, on April 15.  Character photos provided.

The police blockade Orussey Market, near an area with many Vietnamese-Americans doing business in Cambodia, on April 15. Character photos provided.

According to the Phnom Penh PostAs of April 18, the Cambodian health agency has organized Covid-19 vaccination for more than 1.2 million people across the country. Activity in recent days is still maintained in the areas of Phnom Penh and Takhmao, although it is blocked and the travel between provinces and cities has to be limited.

“They are giving priority to people who are at high risk of infection. Like Sen Sok district (in central Phnom Penh), people aged 60 and over are given vaccinations. My grandchildren in that area are also vaccinated. then “, Mr. Ty said.

Davy Duong, 29, a Vietnamese-born pharmacist in the priority group, received the first shot of the Sinovac vaccine provided by China to Cambodia. The day after the injection, Davy had a mild fever and was tired and quickly recovered the next day. She said the vaccine was one of the many measures to prevent Covid-19 infection that workers in the health sector in Cambodia were provided, in addition to protective equipment such as masks and face shields.

According to Mr. Sim Chy, the Vietnamese Embassy has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to support vaccination for businesses and workers investing in Cambodia. As for the Vietnamese Khmer community, people face many difficulties in the early stages because most of them do not have citizenship.

“The majority of people only have alien cards, also known as ‘yellow cards’, issued by the Immigration Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Cambodia,” he said.

However, after the Vietnam Khmer Association in Cambodia cooperated with the Ministry of Home Affairs and 25 provinces of Cambodia, over 10 provinces and cities agreed to allow people to have yellow cards, who are legally living in Cambodia, to be registered. injection.

The Vietnamese people believe that the vaccine will help them overcome the pandemic soon. “The quality of the vaccine, how much I do not know, but I understand that vaccinations are safe and I want to be vaccinated,” said Ny.

Trung Nhan

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