At Koh Pich, a usually exclusive area that means “Diamond Island,” a former event space has been turned into a 1,800-bed facility with patients camped out in crumbling auditoriums, all living on single beds about an arm’s length away from the next.
Many families are inside, with crying infants.
In the suburb of Sen Sok, a gargantuan wedding venue usually reserved for lavish parties hosted by Cambodia’s elite is now equipped to hold 1,500 people and is adorned with clotheslines, trash piles and confinement fences.
And the sporting grounds of Olympic Stadium, a 1960s masterwork by the Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann, now look like an industrial-scale medical center, complete with mobile barracks, isolation facilities and medics in hazmat suits.
The World Health Organization representative to Cambodia, Dr. Li Ailan, said Cambodia’s spike in Covid cases was caused by new, more infectious variants as well as a mix of pandemic fatigue and the false belief that vaccines prevent all infection. She said there were “pros and cons” to the government’s methods.