Prime Minister Hun Sen reminded the public of the importance of employing preventative measures against the Covid-19 virus. A new variant, XBB.1.5, was recently identified, although no cases have yet been detected in the Kingdom.

Speaking at a January 9 groundbreaking ceremony of a road expansion project in Kampong Cham town, Hun Sen said even with his ‘excellent’ strategies, he would never have been able to manage the pandemic without the support of the public.

He speculated at how badly the Kingdom could have been devastated.

“In just a short time, the virus killed 3,056 Cambodians, a terrible number, but we can only imagine how much worse it could have been if people had not followed the three dos and don’ts and rushed to get vaccinated,” he said.

“It is because the people welcomed the policies, strategies and measures that I ordered the Ministry of Health to implement – including the extremely high rate of vaccination – that we survived as well as we have,” he added.

“I continue to urge people to follow preventive measures. I recommend that to boost your immunity, you make sure your vaccines are up to date,” he continued.

The prime minister also warned the public about the newest variant of the virus.

“Although the new XBB.1.5 variant has not been found in Cambodia, there are already Cambodians living abroad who have been infected with the new virus. With new variations being discovered so often, I call on people to get their next booster shot – they should not wait until it is too late,” he said.

He assured that the Kingdom had an adequate supply of vaccines, with at least seven million doses currently in storage.

In addition, 15 million more doses are still available on demand from China, along with another five million from the US. The government had asked the shipments to be delayed as they were not yet required.

Wang Wentian, Chinese ambassador to Cambodia, said that the Kingdom’s success at suppressing the virus appeared to be due to the policies of the prime minister, especially his successful vaccination campaign.

“Cambodia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and was one of the first to reopen its economy. It has been recognised as one of the most successful nations on Earth in the fight against Covid-19. The Kingdom has received praise from many countries around the world,” he added.

A campaign to issue the 4th, the 5th and 6th doses to children, frontline workers and government officials began on January 9.

Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health and chair of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, inspected the start of the campaign at the Senate and the Dangkor Referral Hospital.

“Despite the new variants, the vaccine remains an important tool to protect individuals from the virus,” she said.