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Kingdom keeps eye on all entries, exits

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Passengers arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport on June 16. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom keeps eye on all entries, exits

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said the ministry was monitoring all exits and entries into the Kingdom in order to quickly detect and isolate anyone infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant by following strict procedures for all travellers.

He made the remarks while accepting 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the Japanese government at Phnom Penh International Airport on December 19.

“We’re following our standard operating procedures. We do a health follow-up and monitor patients and we ensure that passengers travelling with those who test positive for Covid-19 have not contracted it and are safe,” he said.

Bun Heng also called on all people to continue to protect themselves and for the unvaccinated to get the jabs against Covid-19 as soon as possible.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said the government was paying more attention to the prevention of imported cases and urged that all health measures be strictly implemented by every individual in light of the new highly transmissible variant.

“[We] have put in place effective measures but from experience we see that Alpha and Delta continued to circulate whenever individuals fail to properly implement these measures.

“So, it is very necessary to strengthen the monitoring and controls on passengers entering Cambodia. We are already working on that, otherwise we would not have been able to detect these four Omicron cases at all,” she said.

Vandine said that although Omicron has shown some increased ability to infect vaccinated persons above and beyond other variants, experts believe that the vaccines will still provide significant protections against serious illness and death from Covid-19 caused by the new strain. She said the best way is to get vaccinated along with a booster shot.

Cambodia had detected four Omicron cases as of December 14 in three Cambodian females returning from abroad and one Iranian man. All of them were intercepted by rapid testing at the airport on arrival and their samples were sent to the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge for a polymerase chain reaction tests.

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