The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced on November 22 that this winter the temperature will drop as low as 15 degrees Celsius in the country, especially in the mountainous areas and on the northeast plateau.

According to the ministry’s announcement, the winds coming from Siberia are now pushing a high-pressure system from China down to Cambodia. This is expected to cause temperatures during the “winter” months of December to February to drop to 15-17C in the Dangrek Mountains and on the northeast plateau while other regions are more likely to experience temperatures in the range of 18-19C.

Ministry spokesman Chan Yutha told The Post that winter is divided into two phases. The first starts from the first week to the third week of December, when the weather cools down to between 17 -19C.

The second phase will start from the fourth week of December and run through February with more cold weather but for a longer period of time and even cooler temperatures – as low as 15C in some places.

“In these situations, people should take care of their health and especially look after young children, the elderly and pregnant women because they may all be more susceptible to infectious diseases,” he said.

Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, told The Post that in general when the cold weather arrives it affects the elderly more often because they have lower body temperatures to begin with due to the slowing of their metabolisms and reduced physical activity.

Therefore, the elderly are at heightened risk in cold weather, which can be life-threatening due to the body’s response to cold temperatures – especially for those with diabetes and heart disease.

“In order to better protect ourselves and our families and to avoid cold weather diseases, wear a thick coat, a scarf, a hat and gloves to stay warm. People should try to maintain their normal level of body heat,” she said.

Vandine said she recommends people seek medical attention at the nearest health centre if they have symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, coughing, sore throat, muscle aches or any other concerning health problems.

She also called on police officers, Military Police officers and soldiers who are stationed along the border in the Dangrek Mountains and northeast plateau to pay more attention to their health and be sure to stay warm to avoid infectious diseases.

Lieutenant General Srey Deuk, deputy commander of the army’s infantry and the commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Intervention Division 3, told The Post that he had already distributed 10,519 winter coats to military personnel.

“Twenty-five units guarding the Cambodian-Thai border including the temple of Preah Vihear have already received winter coats,” he said.

On November 18, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on people to increase their vigilance about their healthcare this winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic and an increased danger from other seasonal illnesses like the flu now that society has reopened and people are mixing freely again.

“Winter often brings with it various diseases, especially the common cold and flu, and now it will be during an outbreak of Covid-19 . . . So, in conclusion, I would like to call on our people to take care of their health during the winter and fall because they always bring increased transmission of infectious diseases,” he said.