Prime Minister Hun Sen said that within a week or two of the traditional April 14-16 Khmer New Year, the level of transmission – or immunity – of Covid-19 in the community would be clear, and then all relevant ministries and institutions would take the necessary measures to respond appropriately.
Hun Sen made the remarks at the inauguration of the statues of Preah Thong and Neang Neak – Cambodia’s largest copper monument depicting the legendary co-founders of the Funan Kingdom – in Preah Sihanouk province on the third day of the New Year, when he also advised authorities at all levels not to apply laws related to the control of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases during the holiday, unless there was a serious infectious situation.
Hun Sen said that villages, communes and tourist attractions were operating normally, and although he was concerned, he encouraged people to travel throughout the country while continuing to implement the measures necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
He suggested people get tested immediately if they have a reason to suspect that they had been exposed – and immediately self-isolate and get treatment should they test positive.
Although the government allowed people in four provinces to decide whether or not they will wear masks, the practice of going mask-less appeared wide-spread in the Kingdom over the three-day holiday.
“Our people must continue to prevent the spread of the virus after the New Year. Please, everyone make sure you have had your third of fourth Covid-19 shot before you return home. There are any places in each province, including pagodas and resorts, where you can receive free vaccinations.
“We have worked to ensure that Cambodia is safe enough. Despite the New Year, the millions of people celebrating it and some places being very crowded, the infection situation is not visible. We will wait one or two weeks to gather the data, and then we will take the necessary action,” he said.
Hun Sen expressed his surety that the public would accept his request that they make certain that their Covid-19 vaccinations be kept as up-to-date as possible. This would keep the Kingdom safe and would encourage continued vigilance against the spread of the virus.
“We must continue to monitor the work of vaccinations,” he said. “Next week we will be able to assess the resilience of our community.”
On political front, the premier observed that there was real happiness and unity among the people across the nation, regardless of the fact that there are 17 different parties preparing to contest the June’s commune council elections. There appeared to be no discrimination among the people, despite political differences, he noted.
“They came together to dance and have fun playing, regardless of their political affiliation. Vaccination is the same – Cambodia does not discriminate against any of its people, no matter which party they believe in – our extraordinary vaccination rates are the pride of the Cambodian people,” he added.
He said although April 16 was the last day of the traditional Khmer New Year, he expected many people to continue to celebrate. Because the following day was a Sunday, many people would carry on playing and partying. Some villages, communes and resorts could continue their entertainment even longer, he said, adding that in past years many communities marked the occasion for a week in advance or up to two weeks after the New Year.
Cambodia missed the New Year celebrations in 2020 and 2021 due to the outbreak of Covid-19.