The Ministry of Health announced a free health and emergency medical services plan for the upcoming 32nd SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games, with advance preparations at seven major national hospitals and four provincial referral hospitals, as well as more than 800 medical staff enlisted for the event.

In an April 19 notice, the ministry said the SEA Games are expected to attract a large number of Cambodians to the event sites in the capital and the provinces of Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep, as well as a large number of international tourists.

Therefore, in order to protect the health of attendees and rescue people experiencing medical emergencies during the upcoming event, the ministry is cooperating with relevant institutions and advising all relevant units to plan for the increase in activity along with the participation of some private health facilities.

The notice said the ministry has readied seven state hospitals: National Techo Santepheap, Calmette, Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak, Khmer–Soviet Friendship, National Pediatric Hospital, Preah Ang Duong and the National Maternal and Child Health Centre.

The preparations also include four referral hospitals in Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep provinces.

“We have readied a total of 833 medical professionals (457 in Phnom Penh), 114 ambulances (72 in Phnom Penh), nine mobile clinics (six in Phnom Penh) and 11 health tents (seven in Phnom Penh),” the ministry said.

Minister Mam Bun Heng said health and emergency services will be available for free to those who need them in the designated locations and there will be QR codes and telephone hotlines to assist with finding them.

“We will update the locations of health and emergency services according to the actual situation. We strongly hope that the people will cooperate with relevant authorities in the most responsible way,” he stated.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that any remaining Covid-19 preventive measures, including mask wearing and rapid testing at various establishments, are now lifted following zero new cases of transmission in recent days, including the Khmer New Year holiday.

He noted in a special audio address to the nation on April 19 that prior to this announcement, attendees at official meetings, certain establishments or those visiting hospitals were required to take rapid tests.

“We will maintain precautionary measures to respond to the situation, especially the health ministry, to monitor and take action for the upcoming SEA Games. Of course, we confirm that if we continue to require rapid tests prior to entry to SEA Games events, it would create a chaotic situation for our medical personnel and cause serious delays to the admission process,” he said.

However, the prime minister also encouraged each individual to take a rapid test on their own if they suspect that they could be infected due to the usual symptoms such as fever or coughing and to refrain from attending events or crowded places until they do so.