The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend.
On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20 community outbreak, which has seen cases rise to 1,708 in just over a month. Among the 86 cases are 11 Cambodian children as young as 18 months old.
The February 20 outbreak has been the country’s third and longest instance of community transmission Cambodia has faced since the pandemic began.
Alarmed by the situation, WHO Representative to Cambodia Li Ailan reiterated call for constant vigilance.
“We are concerned. Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is not getting better before it is getting worse! I urge all individuals to seriously implement all the combined measures . . . Wrong choices for none compliance mean the tragedy consequences of more deaths,” she said in a tweet on March 28.
Li said fully complying with quarantine measures would help prevent the spread of the virus and save lives while minimising socio-economic impacts caused by the crisis.
She further reminded the public that one negative Covid-19 test was not an indication that someone could safely skip the 14-day quarantine because they may have an infection that has yet to advance to the point where it is detected by testing.
“Keeping the amazing Cambodia safe! Heartfelt appreciation for all the highest level commitments and leadership, combined public health measures, individual actions and solidarity to prevent more importation and stop Covid-19 local community transmission.
“A negative Covid-19 test result does not mean to discontinue the 14-day quarantine. We are confronting the life challenges together,” she said.
As of March 28, Cambodia had recorded a total of 2,233 Covid-19 cases with 1,054 receiving ongoing treatment and 10 confirmed deaths.
In a bid to contain the pandemic, Ministry of Justice secretary of state Kim Santepheap said on March 28 that wearing a mask is now mandatory for anyone who is in a public place with two or more people present. Only private residences are exempt from these rules.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has also issued a directive mandating that municipal and provincial governors cooperate closely with health ministry officials to begin enforcing fines on individuals or establishments that do not follow mask wearing and social distancing regulations.
And as part of the government’s efforts to prevent further spread of the virus, Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 28 allocated over one billion riel ($250,000) in further funding to 15 provinces as well as additional supply kits to 12 other provinces across the country for use in quarantine work. This financial and material assistance is expected to last until April 5.
The health ministry said the $250,000 will be spent in 15 provinces to help 12,823 people who are undergoing quarantine. Each province could receive between 10 and 300 million riel.
The supply kits include sleeping mats and mosquito nets, among other items, and will be given to the 12 provinces that had not received financial assistance.