Mass closure of garment factories leaves workers unpaid, struggling to survive in lockdown

Garment workers stand in front of their rented apartments in the Stung Meanchey III commune of Meanchey district, one of the strictly patrolled COVID-19 red zones in Phnom Penh, April 22, 2021. CamboJA/ Panha Chhorpoan

Many of the thousands of garment workers now under Cambodia’s strictest COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are finding themselves unpaid, suspended indefinitely from the capital area’s hundreds of factories and, as of yet, with little help from outside.

Phnom Penh police deny beating lockdown pedestrians but confirm stricter enforcement

Police patrols have been keeping residents in their homes in the Stung Meanchey I commune, one of seven areas designed as "red zone" lockdown site. Videos shared on social media have shown police beating people with bamboo sticks to force them into their homes, April 21, 2021. CamboJA/ Panha Chhorpoan

In a measure that human rights monitors have blasted as extreme, Phnom Penh police have begun flogging people deemed to be violating the sweeping metropolitan lockdown order.

Gov’t food distribution begins but with food stores closed, ‘red zone’ residents worry about feeding their families

Militarily trucks transport food to a Stung Meanchey red zone, April 20, 2021. CamboJA/ Panha Chhorpoan

Two weeks ago, garment workers at Din Han Enterprise factory went into quarantine after hundreds of workers tested positive for COVID-19. Long Sarem, 42, sealed herself and her son into her small rental room in Meanchey district’s Stung Meanchey 3 commune, surviving on inexpensive food from a nearby vendor.