China's Ministry of Defence on Saturday donated 16 tonnes of medical supplies to Cambodia’s Ministry of Defence, consisting of 11 types of items worth some $1 million.
The handover ceremony was held at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday between Minister of Defence Teah Banh’s adviser Nem Sowath and Li Jingfeng, the military attaché at the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia.
Sowath, who is also director-general of the General Department of Policy and Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of National Defence, said this is the third time it had received assistance from China in the fight against Covid-19.
The two previous times involved the dispatch of four medical experts from China to Cambodia on March 25 and the supply of medical equipment.
“I would like to emphasise that we have many measures within our military medical unit. This cooperation contributes actively to improving the capacity of our medical preparation,” Sowath told reporters at the airport.
Li said China and Cambodia trusted each other like sylvan (trees). The two countries always helped each other in difficult times. China and Cambodia are brothers and friends. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the two countries have cooperated with each other.
“The Defence Ministry of China and the Defence Ministry of Cambodia, China’s People’s Liberation Army and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces have tightly cooperated to support each other. As for the assistance to fight Covid-19, our cooperation has been comprehensive,” Li said through a translator.
He said the armies of the two nations trust each other on the Covid-19 battlefield. China is also supporting other countries in this effort.
“Please, all brothers and sisters believe in China. When Covid-19 is over, Chinese aid will continue to come to Cambodia. This handover ceremony shows the traditional friendship between the two nations.
“The two armies stand shoulder to shoulder to defeat Covid-19 and protect the people’s health,” Li said.
Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) reported on Saturday that the 16-tonnes of medical supplies consisted of 20,000 pieces of N95 masks, 500,000 pieces of surgical masks, 500 medical goggles and 10,000 pairs of medical gloves.
There were also 1,000 medical hats, 10,000 protection suits, 20,000 nucleic acid detection kits, 100 medical beds, 100 handheld thermometers, 2,000 bottles (500ml) of disinfection gel, and 100 medical waste bins.
The ministry’s Department of Logistics deputy director and director of the Preah Ketomelea Hospital Ly Sovann said that since March 25, Chinese counterparts had dispatched four medical experts to help the ministry along with medical supplies.
The four doctors installed a laboratory at Preah Ketomelea Hospital to test for the virus and trained military doctors across the country on prevention measures and disinfection.
He said the four went twice to Military Region 4 in Siem Reap to prepare for the possible admission of Covid-19 patients and 340 samples were taken from people and military personnel to test at the newly-installed laboratory. All the samples were negative.
They are now waiting to test 300 military cadets who will return from training in Vietnam, he said.
“We have prepared well and we are not concerned now. We understand everything. It’s not like before when we were in the dark,” Sovann said.
As of Sunday, Cambodia has not recorded a single new case for two weeks. The figure has stopped at 122 and only five remain hospitalised after 117 recovered, said the Ministry of Health.
Prime Minister Hun Sen took to Facebook to remind people to be vigilant.
“Besides development aid to Cambodia, China has also sent a medical team with medicine, materials and tools to be used to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Cambodia thanks our friend China and wishes the friendship between the two countries remains strong,” Hun Sen posted.