Authorities in Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey Province, which incorporates the border town of Poipet, have ordered the temporary closure of all casinos as an outbreak of COVID-19 continues to spread across the nation.
There were 171 cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Tuesday, prompting authorities to issue a statement which read, “The casino business in Banteay Meanchey province is temporarily closed until further notice.”
Provincial administration director Chhoeun Kraiyong noted that guests of Poipet’s casinos were among those to have tested positive.
“Seeing the outbreak, the provincial administration decided to suspend all casinos in Poipet town. We wouldn’t have closed them if it wasn’t related,” he said.
Donaco International Ltd, operator of Star Vegas, confirmed via an ASX filing that it had suspended operations as a result of the order.
“Donaco’s Star Vegas has temporarily closed its operations until further notice from the local government,” it said. “The continued safety of Donaco’s staff and visitors remains paramount and the company will monitor developments and advise the market once there is a further update.”
The suspension of casino operations in Banteay Meanchey comes just days after Sihanoukville was placed into a two-week lockdown until 6 May. A nighttime curfew and travel ban in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh has also been extended until 5 May.
Integrated resort NagaWorld, which holds a monopoly on casino operations within a 200km radius of Phnom Penh, has been closed since 1 March after 11 staff tested positive to COVID-19.
Cambodia’s virus outbreak stems from an incident on 20 February 2021 when four Chinese nationals bribed their way out of a quarantine hotel and visited a series of nightclubs. Two of those Chinese nationals later tested positive for COVID-19, setting in motion Cambodia’s first major outbreak.
Cambodia reported 508 new cases on Tuesday, taking the national tally to 11,063.