The government has provided medical equipment and financial aid to neighboring Vietnam to help curb the spread of Covid-19, which is currently running rampant there.

A civil society official sees the aid as a humanitarian gesture with neighboring country and that the government should provide them to its citizens in impoverished areas.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his spouse Bun Rany Hun Sen – who is president of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) – and Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) president Men Sam An pledged a total of $350,000 in addition to other medical equipment for Vietnam to prevent the spread of Covid-19 into the community, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, on July 17.

The donations will be shipped on a special flight on July 19. The shipment consists of one million face masks, 100,000 N95 masks, 100 automatic oxygen concentrators, $200,000 donated by the government, $100,000 donated by the CRC and $50,000 donated by the VCFA.

“Bun Rany Hun Sen donated $100,000 to the Vietnamese Red Cross through the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia to contribute to preventing the spread of Covid-19 in Vietnam,” said the CRC in a Facebook post on July 17.

Vietnam has been plagued by a severe Covid-19 outbreak, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. In recent days, the country has detected thousand cases of Covid-19 every day. On July 17, it recorded a total of 44,186 cases and 225 deaths, according to the CRC.

VCFA president Sam An said: “This is the sympathy of the Cambodian people to help our Vietnamese friends in times of emergency as an expression of solidarity between the two countries’ friendship associations.”

Vietnam has in the past donated medical equipment, face mask, and financial aid to Cambodia through the VCFA to prevent the pandemic.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said on July 18 the move is a humanitarian and diplomatic gesture during the Covid-19 era to express sympathy to a neighbouring country.

“This is a gesture to show that Cambodia has adequate capacity and ability to manage the pandemic and is able to donate some financial aid and medical equipment to Vietnam, which is experiencing trouble with the new Covid-19 variant,” he said.

Chanroeun echoed the concerns of Ministry of Health, saying the number of daily infections, momentum, and the death toll in Cambodia due to the pandemic is about to cross the red line.

The situation requires the government to find ways to prevent the pandemic’s spread and to help the Cambodian people, he said.

“The government should have a mechanism in place to distribute face masks or sell good-quality alcohol at an affordable price or at a discount to the Cambodian people so that they can use it to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We have seen people have trouble finding quality face masks at affordable prices and thousands of litres of counterfeit alcohol circulating in the country,” Chanroeun said.