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PM hails Covid fight after zero cases May 7 in 14-month first

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People travelling along Russian Blvd in the capital’s Tuol Kork district in late April just as the government lifted its mask-wearing mandate. Heng Chivoan

PM hails Covid fight after zero cases May 7 in 14-month first

Prime Minister Hun Sen lauded the Kingdom’s achievement in the fight against Covid-19, after the country recorded zero coronavirus cases on May 7, the first such instance since the community outbreak on February 20 last year.

In a special audio address on May 7, Hun Sen said this result is due to the efforts of compatriots and health officials, which has led steadily to Cambodia’s success in achieving zero cases, from low single digit daily cases for the last month.

"This comes after a great test in which the people were given the chance to enjoy Khmer New Year in a huge open trial where people were mixing, mingling and enjoying entertainment.

"This is a great achievement: that we have fought together to win the ‘Battle of Covid-19’. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all… the people who have joined forces to fight against Covid-19, which has led to a steady decline in infection rates to this day: the first time in more than a year in which we have reached zero [cases],” he said.

Hun Sen stressed, however, that this did not mean the end of Covid-19 cases. But he acknowledged it was cause for pride.

"Even if there is a recurrence [of Covid-19 cases] tomorrow, we have one in a few hundred days where we did not have an infection," said Hun Sen.

He renewed his call for Cambodians to continue to protect themselves through observing health measures that have been introduced during the pandemic, and that despite mask-wearing having been made optional in outdoor settings, the government encourages the public to wear them.

He also urged members of the public to get their booster shots as soon as they are eligible, in order to ensure continued high levels of protection against Covid-19.

Hun Sen expressed pride in Cambodians’ efforts to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions and overcome “difficult times”.

He also thanked countries who provided vaccination donations to Cambodia.

“Vaccines provide an opportunity for all of us to reopen the economy, enable our people to grow crops and resume their livelihoods by learning to live with the Covid-19 virus in a ‘new normal’,” Hun Sen said.

US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) senior vice-president and regional managing director Michael Michalak also praised Cambodia’s achievements in its fight against Covid-19 in a meeting with Or Vandine, Ministry of Health secretary of state on May 5, according to the ministry.

Vandine, who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said this successful result was achieved due to the efforts of the government to achieve a high rate of vaccinations in the country.

She noted that Cambodia has vaccinated more than 93 per cent of the population.

Separately, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said she was “very grateful” for a “fruitful joint field mission for Covid-19 vaccination” with the health ministry in Koh Kong province, where she met with governor Mithona Phuthong.

“We discussed sustained management of Covid-19; investment in health, and focus on primary health care (PHC) as a foundation towards universal health care,” she tweeted.

She said Cambodia had built a “good foundation” on which to focus and invest in PHC as the “most cost-effective means” to address a number of ongoing and future health challenges, including the rise of non-communicable diseases.

As of May 8, Cambodia recorded a total of 136,262 Covid-19 cases, with 3,056 deaths.

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