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Capital set to shrink red zones in jab drive

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Residents wait for their turn to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Salang commune. Phnom Penh Municipal Hall

Capital set to shrink red zones in jab drive

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the authorities are looking into reducing the size of the red zone areas from being imposed on entire communes to designating them at the village and household level, as new Covid-19 cases in the capital have dropped in recent days.

Sreng revealed these plans while inspecting the vaccination campaign sites in the red zone on the morning of May 9.

"I am evaluating with specialists how to better consolidate control in the red zones, and we saw that yesterday there were only 200 more Covid-19 cases in Phnom Penh, decreasing from the over 500 per day seen previously,” he said.

“The point is that we will try to place restrictions at the house or building level and open the village to travel, only closing down the places with Covid-19 positive patients. We are studying this issue and once we are finished, I will let you know more," he said.

On May 9, the Ministry of Health reported another 520 Covid-19 cases, all but five of which were linked to the February 20 community outbreak. The health ministry also reported six new deaths, bringing the total to 120.

The Ministry of National Defence’s vaccination working group has immunised over 350,000 people in the red zones over the past eight days in five districts – Meanchey, Dangkor, Kamboul, Por Sen Chey and Russey Keo.

Ith Sarath – Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Joint Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who is heading up the red zone vaccination effort – said on May 9 that the inoculation process in the red zones was generally going well and moving along quickly as planned, though there were some difficulties and complications due to the presence of Covid-19 in the area.

He called on the vaccination working group and local authorities to work together to accelerate vaccinations and work even faster and more efficiently.

"People who do not live in the red zones have to be patient because they will eventually be vaccinated, but we will do it after we finish in the red zone.

“Please do not worry that there won’t be enough vaccines, because another one million doses will arrive on May 11 and May 15," said Sarath.

The government started the vaccination campaign in the red zone on May 1 for people aged 18 years and older. Nearly 600,000 people will be vaccinated in the five districts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has vaccinated 124,424 workers – including 4,589 foreigners – in their separate campaign from April 7 to May 8.

As of May 8, Cambodia has vaccinated 1,718,708 people nationwide. The Kingdom plans to vaccinate between 10 million and 13 million of its total population of 15.5 million.

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