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Asia Today: Cambodia reopens schools after virus shutdown

PHNOM PENH – Schools in Cambodia opened on Monday for the first time since March, but class sizes and hours were limited as a coronavirus precaution.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said schools might have to be reclosed if any students become infected while attending classes. He said students and teachers must observe safety measures because the virus is still raging in Europe and the United States and a vaccine is not yet available.

Some schools in the capital, Phnom Penh, and parts of eastern Cambodia opened last month in a trial phase, and Hang Chuon Naron said the good results prompted the nationwide reopenings.

"As the government has controlled the COVID situation very well, we have seen that in Cambodia the number of cases has not increased, and especially the border control is every effective,” he told reporters at a school in Phnom Penh.

“We have two objectives -- number one is safety for our students, our teachers, as well as the community, and number two is to continue education for everyone,” he said.

Cambodia has reported 292 coronavirus cases with no deaths. The Health Ministry on Monday reported one new case, a Cambodian returning from abroad.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India has added 45,230 new coronavirus infections, continuing a downturn. The Health Ministry also Monday reported 496 more fatalities, raising the death toll to 122,607. With 8.2 million cases, India is the second worst-hit country behind the U.S. But the number of new cases being diagnosed each day is falling steadily even though testing is not declining. In the last week, there have been fewer than 50,000 new cases every day. Many states have been easing restrictions on schooling and commercial activities to spur the economy, but experts fear a resurgence in the winter, particularly as people socialize in the festive season.

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