Prime Minister Hun Sen said preventing the spread of Covid-19 depends on each citizen. He expressed concern that the pandemic will continue for longer.
Hun Sen said this after nine Cambodian students who recently returned to the Kingdom from Saudi Arabia were found to be infected with Covid-19.
They tested positive after 15 other Cambodian students on the same flight were confirmed to have contracted the virus on Sunday. The 24 students have since been admitted to the Chak Angre Krom Health Centre in Phnom Penh for treatment.
Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said some of the students are pursuing higher education and some are enrolled in master’s degree programmes. They travelled to Cambodia during their vacation.
Hun Sen said every Covid-19 case in Cambodia has been imported and some of the patients had spread it to others in the Kingdom. Of all the cases, half are Cambodians. No deaths have been reported in the Kingdom.
“The coronavirus is not over yet. Over 200 scientists wrote to the World Health Organisation [WHO] and said the disease can be transmitted through the air.
“We do not know if it is true or not. If it is true, it would be a real disaster. We would have to take oxygen with us when it comes to breathing,” he said.
Vandine echoed Hun Sen’s concerns.
“I observe that the transmission of this disease has increased noticeably due to the lack of cautiousness. Each citizen must participate in preventing this virus from being transmitted within our community,” she said.
Hun Sen said he is concerned that more people among the 80 students might get infected.
He said he is also worried that citizens no longer fear the virus. They are not cautious like before, as the government lifts measures such as reopening schools next month, and nightclubs and casinos too.
The government has also approved August 17 to 21 as holidays to compensate for this year’s cancelled Khmer New Year celebration.
“Citizens had an excessive fear before, but now they are no longer afraid of it [virus]. Among 10 citizens riding motorbikes on the road, 10 wear helmets but only one wears a mask. I call on citizens to protect themselves and not transmit the virus to communities,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister expects that reopening guesthouses and hotels during upcoming holidays will lower joblessness and increase income in the tourism sector.
He said factory workers who lost their jobs have increased to 170,000. Each of them receives $40 from the government each month. As of Monday, $23 million has been spent on 520,000 poor families, Hun Sen said.
“I declared to give funds for two months. If the situation still does not get better, we will give it for four months. We have prepared funds to support the people for 10 months,” he said.
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases announced on Tuesday that since January, out of a total of 46,861 people who were tested for Covid-19, only 165 were declared positive. And of them, 133 had recovered.