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National Covid-19 campaign kicks off

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Health ministry spokeswoman (centre) Or Vandine prepares to beat the drum to launch the campaign on Monday. HEALTH MINISTRY

National Covid-19 campaign kicks off

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said Cambodia has had one of the most successful campaigns to vaccinate its people against Covid-19 in the WHO’s entire western-pacific region.

Li made the remarks on August 16 at a ceremonial event presided over by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng to celebrate the nation’s broadening vaccination efforts and promote them with a motto of Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 Is Everyone’s Responsibility.

“The launch of this national campaign comes at the right time, especially in this context where we need to re-think the pandemic in light of the spread of the delta strain. This virus is incredibly contagious now. Therefore, the work and activities that we planned to undertake to fight the pandemic must be accomplished faster to counter this spread,” Li said.

She added that the two major activities to be carried out were the full and strict implementation of non-pharmaceutical intervention measures such as masking and social distancing and an accelerated vaccination campaign throughout the country.

“If we do this work together, collectively, then we will have a chance at victory over Covid-19. But if we do not work together in harmony and solidarity, then this virus will surely outrun our efforts.

“I firmly hope that what we do today will lead to us working together effectively and taking responsibility as a community for winning the battle against Covid-19. Our activities today will determine our successes tomorrow,” Li said.

Or Vandine, health ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, also said everyone must strive towards full implementation of all health measures as highlighted by the theme of the national campaign.

“If we follow all of the Covid-19 related rules and restrictions, we can avoid having to pay fines or be prosecuted in court. These penalties exist to remind us all to take better care of our own health and the health of others,” she said.

She added that responsibility for ending the pandemic does not rest solely with the ministry, but with all of society. Individuals, families and communities must all commit to working together and be disciplined in maintaining health measures to succeed.

“If we can stay united over the next one or two months, our hope is that this will reduce the spread of Covid-19,” she said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Kim Santepheap said penalties and consequences will continue to be enforced regardless of this particular campaign, especially for those who are negligently careless or insolently defy the law.

He said once the laws take effect, everyone has an obligation to obey them even if they are not actively enforced.

Health minister Bun Heng said at the opening ceremony of the national campaign that after two years, finally everyone was united in the fight against Covid-19, which WHO says is far from over in most parts of the world.

“Educating and training people to be aware of the risks of Covid-19 and to be responsible about protecting themselves, their families and communities is very important, and we have done this work in the past,” he said.

Bun Heng also requested that municipal and provincial governors pay greater attention to implementing the campaign in their jurisdictions by spreading the word over loudspeakers, beating drums, putting up banners and posters, and widely distributing leaflets to people in villages and communes.

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