Children need better protection against Covid-19 and improved measures are needed as vaccine for children is currently unavailable, officials said.
During a visit to Kandal province on June 10, UNICEF Representative to Cambodia Foroogh Foyouzat said she had observed that children were infected by Covid-19 because they liked to play in closed rooms where infection was more likely.
“In should be standard practice that children aged 5 and over, especially children who can wear masks, to wear them properly and be protected from infection,” she said.
She added that some guardians did not wear masks, and if adults fail to adequately wear protection when they go out in public, children will be placed at risk.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Alian also said WHO is collecting data on vaccinations for people under 18.
“After the data is analysed, there could be changes to WHO recommendations. However, WHO still warns that frontline [health workers], old people and other groups are vulnerable to Covid-19,” she said.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine has frequently spoken about child protection against the virus.
“The main problem is all adults. For now, what do we do to avoid infection, even small children get infected? There is nothing better than staying home. Do not leave home when unnecessary,” she said.
Early this month, China approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in people aged three to 17.
Sinovac CEO Yin Weidong was quoted as saying the vaccine could be administered to people in that age group, but it required authorisation from Chinese authorities in line with the vaccination strategy.
Ros Sokna, 28, said he had not allowed his children aged 5 and 10 out of the house very often during the pandemic. He would make sure they wear masks and wash hands frequently with alcohol gel otherwise.
“My children have grown up, so they know how to wear masks properly and they fear this disease themselves,” he said.
Sokna said he really wanted a Covid-19 vaccine for Cambodian children because he had seen that even small children and babies can get infected.
As of June 13, Cambodia had recorded a total of 38,427 Covid-19 cases with 31,858 recoveries and 335 fatalities.