Workers Isolate in Dorms After Stay-at-Home Order

While waiting for a health screening certification document last week, garment worker Si Sophy sipped iced tea and chatted with friends from the Grand Textiles factory in Phnom Penh’s Choam Chao commune.

The 23-year-old said she accepted her employer’s decision not to pay her for 14 days while she stays home from work because she had taken leave over the canceled Khmer New Year holiday without asking. The worker was told by health staff at the end of the checkup to self-isolate in her dorm, but if ordered to go to one of the capital’s Covid-19 worker quarantine centers, Sophy said she would refuse out of fear she would get sick while staying in one of the designated schoolrooms.

“Even if we turned in the forms [requesting leave], we knew the manager would not accept them, so we just sneaked out to our hometowns,” Sophy said on Monday. “But if they quarantine us in the school, we would rather quit and wait for the situation [in the garment industry] to recover.”

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