January 2023 will mark the third anniversary of Cambodia’s first Covid-19 infection. And with no immediate end in sight, the government has reiterated its call for all citizens to get vaccinated against the virus.

On October 26, while distributing rice seed to more than 3,000 households in Kampong Chhnang province, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked the public for joining hands with the government to contain the pandemic.

“In a couple months, it will be the third anniversary of the first case of this devastating disease. It is thanks to the efforts of every person in the Kingdom that we are able to bring the situation under control,” he said.

Cambodia discovered its first Covid-19 case, a Chinese man in Preah Sihanouk province, on January 27, 2020.

The premier said he is pleased to note that no new cases had been detected for six consecutive days. He singled out the public’s willingness to embrace the preventative measures recommended by the Ministry of Health – including vaccinations – for particular praise.

“We do not lack vaccines for those people who have only had their second dose. Please get the third as soon as possible – two is not enough to protect you and your families. Please spread the word to anyone who has doubts. The vaccine cannot harm us but will instead help us avoid serious health problems should you contract the virus, perhaps even death,” he said.

It has been seven months since Cambodia recorded a death from Covid-19. Nonetheless, Hun Sen urged people not to let down their guard.

“We can forget Covid, but Covid does not forget us. It is always around, and if we become negligent, we could get infected.”

The Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index, published on October 10, ranked Cambodia fourth out of 121 countries in terms of recovery from the pandemic. It was top of the of the ASEAN countries, with an index score of 76.5. Vietnam scored 75 points, ranking second in the region.

According to the health ministry, 95.09 per cent of the Kingdom’s population of 16 million had been vaccinated against Covid-19 as of October 25. More than 10 million people have received their third dose, over 4.5 million their fourth, and more than one million their fifth.