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PM asks India for vaccine help

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Indian ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Uttamkhobragade (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen. SPM

PM asks India for vaccine help

Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year.

The request was made during his meeting with new Indian ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Uttamkhobragade.

Uttamkhobragade congratulated Hun Sen and the Cambodian government for their excellent results to date in the campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

The prime minister in turn congratulated India on the country’s successful production of Covid-19 vaccines.

He then requested that India donate Covid-19 vaccines to Cambodia to help save Cambodian lives because even with the Covid-19 vaccines recently donated by China, the Kingdom would still need millions of additional doses to protect the whole nation.

Uttamkhobragade said she would relay this request for assistance to her government.

Last weekend, Hun Sen announced that China had offered to provide one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Cambodia and that he had decided to accept the offer despite the vaccine not yet having WHO approval due to the urgency of the situation.

He also vowed to be the first Cambodian immunised with the vaccine in order to build public confidence in its safety.

Separately, while visiting referral hospitals in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pailin provinces, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed her appreciation for Cambodia’s doctors and nurses who had worked so hard to keep the situation under control after the influx of Covid-19 patients returning from Thailand.

Vandine also urgently requested that all medical professionals in the border provinces increase their level of personal safety measures and precautions while treating Covid-19 patients.

“What we have observed across these three provincial health departments are courageous efforts even past the point of exhaustion, physically and mentally, day and night.

“This hard work is necessary because we must control the points of entry, check every returning migrant’s health and ensure they are placed in quarantine.

“Everything – all of our efforts – depend on this,” she said in an interview from Pailin province.

On January 18, a 38-year-old Cambodian worker who returned from Thailand on the night of January 17 via Chambok border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district died after he fell and hit his head on a rock while he was off relieving himself just prior to boarding an army vehicle to go to a quarantine centre.

In a press release later that day, the provincial administration explained that after the 38-year-old had fallen down, another worker who had accompanied him helped the man into a vehicle. The deceased said he felt very tired after drinking two cans of beer.

One of the police officers on hand recognised his fatigue as a possible sign of concussion and the worker was immediately sent to Malai District Referral Hospital. The doctors stitched up the injury to his head and kept him at the hospital for observation.

Overnight, the worker said he felt dizzy and then vomited until he lost consciousness. The doctors tried to stabilise his condition while rushing him to the better-equipped Poipet Town Referral Hospital but he died on the way there, according to the press release.

Provincial officials confirmed that the worker had not died due to Covid-19, but from an accidental injury to his head.

As of January 18, Cambodia had recorded a total of 439 Covid-19 cases with 53 still hospitalised.

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