PHNOM PENH, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's COVID-19 cases climbed to 16,971 on Wednesday after 672 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement.
The new infections included 667 local cases and five imported cases, the statement said.
Three more deaths were confirmed, taking the death toll to 110, the statement said, adding that 228 patients had recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 6,019.
The MoH on Wednesday required people in three other provinces, namely Takeo, Kampong Cham and Kampong Speu, to wear face masks in public and in businesses to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The three provinces have been determined as the high-risk areas of infections after the third community transmission broke out on Feb. 20, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a statement.
"Requirements for wearing face masks and keeping a physical distancing (of 1.5 meters from each other) must be implemented from now on until further notice," he said.
The minister advised local authorities in the above-mentioned provinces to take action to ensure the effective implementation of the requirements.
So far, a mask mandate has been in place in 10 provinces including the capital city Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk, Kandal, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
Under the country's law, first-time violators will be issued a warning, as repeat offenders will be fined between 50 to 250 U.S. dollars.
Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Wednesday that the country has so far inoculated 1.51 million people against the COVID-19.
The country launched an anti-COVID-19 inoculation drive on Feb. 10 after having received more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in phases from China and the World Health Organization's COVAX Facility.
"The number of people, who have received the COVID-19 vaccines across the country, has risen to more than 1.5 million, or more than 15 percent of the 10 million target population," Hun Sen said in a voice message.
He added that the number of vaccine recipients is expected to top 2 million in the coming weeks as Cambodia has been rushing to vaccinate some 520,000 people in high-risk areas, or blocked Red Zones, in Phnom Penh and adjacent Ta Khmao city in southern Kandal province.
Meanwhile, the prime minister expressed his profound thanks to China for having generously provided vaccines to Cambodia, saying that the vaccines were essential for the kingdom to fight against the pandemic.
He said the country is expected to receive another 1 million doses of COVID-19 next week, including 500,000 on May 11 and 500,000 on May 15.