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This year's Phnom Penh Water Festival has been canceled.


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As part of attempts to decrease the possibility of a Covid-19 epidemic, the administration has decided to cancel this year's Water Festival, which was set to take place next month.

"The Water Festival is normally held in October." However, due to the risk of a Covid outbreak, the administration has chosen not to do so this year," stated Interior Minister Sar Kheng during a ceremony in Battambang province yesterday.


With the menace of Covid-19, he added, every citizen must learn to live in a different way.


Due to floods and the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, the government postponed the Water Festival for three years, in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Cambodia was unable to hold the Water Festival in 2015 due to low water levels, and again in 2020 because to a Covid-19 outbreak.


Although the government has chosen to postpone the event in Phnom Penh, government spokeswoman Phay Siphan told Khmer Times yesterday that the festival can still be celebrated in other provinces.


"All pagodas in other provinces may celebrate this essential aspect of Cambodian culture as long as they follow all MoH precautions to prevent Covid from spreading," Siphan stated.


He went on to say that the administration has chosen to enable citizens to travel around the country on the three-day Pchum Ben. The Water Festival has been canceled because they are working to reopen specific parts one by one.


"The cancellation will have a minor economic impact. The government does not want a large number of visitors to visit Phnom Penh at once. "This might potentially result in an outbreak," Siphan warned.


Pheap Sothea, a drink vendor in front of the Royal Palace, told Khmer Times yesterday that she supports canceling the festival to prevent the Covid-19 outbreak from spreading after the festivities.


She went on to say that, while she supports the cancellation, it will have a detrimental economic impact on her, especially after a year in which the number of tourists visiting the Royal Palace has dropped dramatically.


"We've all witnessed the impact of Covid-19 on street vendors, and its cancellation will exacerbate the situation." After seeing that people were allowed to visit other tourist spots during this year's Water Festival, I assumed my business would improve," Sothea remarked.

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