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Anti-Covid drive steps up as Delta proliferates

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Medical workers test samples of people suspected to have contracted the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the pathogen that caused Covid-19 – on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Anti-Covid drive steps up as Delta proliferates

The Ministry of Health has renewed its Covid-19 prevention campaign efforts in light of the confirmed presence of the Delta variant in Cambodia as many locations across the country return to lockdown and curfew to stem its spread.

This comes as the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge confirmed another 42 Delta cases on August 3 in Phnom Penh and three provinces, according health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine.

The ministry on August 2 issued guidelines for a national messaging strategy with the theme of “together we’re responsible for preventing Covid-19 ”.

The campaign calls on everyone from all walks of life to enforce and maintain Covid-19 preventive measures to break the chain of transmission.

The 43-page long report consists of a 10-point programme detailing campaign activities that should be undertaken at the sub-national and national levels – as well as by individuals – to prevent the virus spreading.

According to the guidelines, the authorities have to raise awareness and attract public attention to the prevention of Covid-19 through methods such as T-shirts, hats and advertisements on banners, radio and TV with the message “jointly responsible for preventing Covid-19”.

Vandine said the strategy was aimed at preventing another wave of the virus and to prepare everyone to adapt to the “new normal” with Covid-19 as a long-term problem.

In remarks made while delivering Prime Minter Hun Sen’s gifts to elderly people who were vaccinated against Covid-19 in Koh Kong province on August 2, Vandine said the Delta variant was spreading in the community in clusters.

She said the greatest concern is that some Delta cases were found without any clear source of origin.

“If we know where the disease is contracted from, we will take measures and track it down there quickly and bring the infected person in to get treatment. Then we can control it.

“But when we don’t know where they got the disease from, that is a sign that we all have to be careful because it shows that Delta is already being transmitted in the community. It is spread by people as they move from place to place.

“If the transmission is growing out of the cluster phase and spreading everywhere on a large scale in our communities, what will the measures be? There is nothing else except to lockdown entirely where even leaving home is not allowed and all businesses are closed, because we will have to impose a temporary lockdown or otherwise, deaths will skyrocket,” she said.

Vandine said if transmission is too rapid then the number of hospitalisations will be too numerous and they will overburden the health system.

Since the beginning of August, the capital and various provinces have imposed individual measures against the Delta variant, including lockdowns in some places.

In the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, deputy district governor Ith Chumnith told The Post on August 3 that medical workers had tested 139 samples taken from people in Ta Nguon II village, and found eight people positive for the virus.

He said after the positive cases were found, the authorities decided to lockdown some parts of the village and continue to test people, but it was not confirmed as yet whether the eight confirmed cases were Delta.

Rath Phally of Ta Nguon I village said the authorities also took samples from 162 vendors in Century Plaza market on August 3, but all of them were negative.

In Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district, Phsar Doeum Kor commune chief Tit Samoeun said some parts of the Phsar Doeum Kor market were closed while vendors were being tested after a Delta confirmed patient purchased goods there.

“Medical personnel said a Delta variant patient went shopping in the market. So, the authorities closed it and tested the vendors. We are constructing tents nearby for vendors to give samples for testing,” he said.

Another Delta case was found among the 34 people who were tested at a supermarket in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district. The sub-committee tracking Covid-19 said the cases were found after a patient went shopping there on July 27.

In Oddar Meanchey province, governor Pen Kosal decided to designate two villages as yellow zones and six villages as red zones in O’Smach commune, effective August 2 until further notice. The decision came after some Delta cases were detected.

In Battambang, provincial governor Nguon Ratanak has also designated dozens of villages in some districts as yellow zones, while several others were designated as red zones, due to the spread of the virus. The zoning is effective for seven days through August 9.

Ratanak also imposed a curfew from 8pm to 3am. It was not immediately clear how many Delta cases have been found there in total. But on August 1, a Delta case was confirmed in this province, according to the health ministry.

Vandine told local media Fresh News on August 3 that 42 more Delta cases had been detected in Cambodia, bringing the total to 265 since it was first recorded on March 31.

“Now, the Delta variant is spreading. Today [August 3], we received information from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge that another 42 Delta cases have been confirmed – four in Kampong Thom, 15 in Oddar Meanchey, five in Phnom Penh, and 18 in Siem Reap,” she said.

As of August 3, Cambodia had recorded a total of 79,051 Covid-19 cases with 72,145 recoveries and 1,471 fatalities.

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