Pagoda Visitors Scarce on First Day of Pchum Ben Amid Covid-19 Fears

Worshippers merely trickled into several Phnom Penh pagodas on the first day of Pchum Ben early Thursday, with visitors saying they had to balance Covid-19 advisories and health risks against their desire to make ancestors’ spirits happy.

Before dawn at Wat Sansam Kosal, in Meanchey district’s Boeng Tompun commune, food sellers lamented the lack of customers as a small number of worshippers passed through automated disinfectant-spraying gates into the pagoda’s main hall.

“Before, I could sell 5 kg,” said Heng Sophea, 53, standing near her baskets of num banh chok Khmer noodles. “Today I’ve sold five plates.”

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