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Kingdom set to contain community virus transmission

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The WHO report said in the first 100 days, five major clusters of the disease were identified, which means that several Covid-19 cases are associated with exposure to the same source of infection. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom set to contain community virus transmission

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in a Friday report that Cambodia is alert and ready to respond to a larger-scale community coronavirus transmission and has demonstrated effective rapid response to initial cases.

However, the Kingdom is still in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, along with vigilant surveillance, laboratory work, rapid response teams and good collaboration between the Ministry of Health and technical partners have all contributed to this successful response within the first 100 days.

“Even though Cambodia has so far contained the virus from spreading within its borders, it remains vital for the country to be prepared for the continuing response to Covid-19 as well as future health threats in Cambodia,” the WHO report said.

It said the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the Kingdom remained high as importations are still possible since many other countries have ongoing community-level transmission.

“The pandemic is far from over. It will only be over when the whole world has stopped transmission.

“This means that we must continue to strengthen the core public health system and health care readiness during this window of opportunity before a future wave,” the report said.

Cambodia has recorded a total of 125 Covid-19 cases. The Ministry of Health confirmed that most of the cases were imported from abroad.

The WHO’s report said in the first 100 days, five major clusters of the disease were identified, which means that several Covid-19 cases are associated with exposure to the same source of infection.

The first of these was the Viking Mekong river cruise which came from Vietnam with three positive cases. Four other close contacts of the tourists also got it.

A second group consisted of 34 cases which acquired Covid-19 as a result of attending a large religious gathering in Malaysia and then passed it on to an additional nine close contacts across 12 provinces.

A third cluster comprised of 31 positive cases among a French tour group in Preah Sihanouk, with a further eight cases among their close contacts.

The fourth group was the result of one case from Thailand who passed it on to four additional contacts.

The fifth cluster was associated with a returning Chinese traveller from Guangzhou who transmitted the infection to four individuals with whom he had close contact.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said even though Cambodia has received a small number of the cases compared to other countries, the people need to change their attitude of living with the Covid-19 situation.

She said people need to adhere to a three-point self-protection plan – practice good hygiene, wear facemasks or scarves when necessary or when sneezing or coughing and maintain social distancing.

WHO has urged Cambodia to focus on certain areas – points of entry such as airports and land border crossings; expanding respiratory disease surveillance; enhancing laboratory, surveillance and response capacities at provincial, district and community levels; and continuously improving risk communications as the situation evolves.

The Ministry of Health’s Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCD) department confirmed on Monday that people had to continue delaying weddings and other social gatherings.

As of Monday, there were 6.1 million Covid-19 patients globally and more than 370,000 deaths.

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