Another 3.5 million doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines donated by China touched down at Phnom Penh International Airport on March 30, just a day after the first shipment of 1.5 million doses arrived.

The five million doses are part of the 20 million total pledged by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month.

China was the first country to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Cambodia, with the first 600,000 doses arriving in Cambodia on February 7, 2021, according to Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath.

Sambath told reporters at the airport while receiving the 1.5 million doses on March 29 that Cambodia was grateful to China for providing such a large amount of vaccines assistance to Cambodia.

“There are also many other partners that assist our country besides China, but China is the leading country in providing Covid-19 vaccines to us,” she said.

She said an official from the World Bank had recently complimented Cambodia on its success with vaccinations and the official asked Cambodia to share its experiences and lessons with neighbouring countries to help them with their vaccination campaigns to fight Covid-19.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on March 28 that the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is much improved thanks to vaccinations, but he renewed his call for everyone to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by practising the three dos and three don’ts.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine – who also heads the National Covid-19 Vaccination Commission – met with US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy, USAID Cambodia mission director Nancy Eslick and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) Director Rachel Albalak on March 28.

The ministry said that the meeting was held to share information about the Cambodian health system and to discuss cooperation to strengthen Cambodian healthcare.

Vandine told the US officials that Cambodia had brought Covid-19 under control and reopened the country in the new normal.

Vandine told US officials that Cambodia was able to bring Covid-19 under control and reopen the country thanks to the foresight and planning of the Kingdom’s leadership under Prime Minister Hun Sen and its plan to fight Covid-19 with vaccination drives carried out using the blossoming strategy.

She added that the health ministry recently launched the primary healthcare booster plan focused on community needs, with the participation and support of the local people and the Kingdom’s development partners.

Murphy complimented the health ministry for its ongoing efforts to strengthen the healthcare system and improve the quality of medical treatments and especially for its success with controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.

He reiterated the US stance that it would continue to support the strengthening of the health sector in Cambodia and offered to explore the possibility of increased cooperation to help implement the primary health care booster plan, the ministry said.

As of March 29, Cambodia had vaccinated 92.62 per cent of its total population of 16 million. Nearly eight million people have so far received their third dose and over one million have received their fourth, the ministry said.