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PM marks end of Feb 20 event

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An adolescent gets vaccinated against Covid-19 in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in September. Hong Menea

PM marks end of Feb 20 event

With the steady decrease in Covid-19 cases of late, Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced an end to the Kingdom’s third coronavirus outbreak – dubbed the “February 20 community event”, marking the date it was first detected.

Hun Sen made the announcement in a special audio address to the nation on December 20, saying Cambodia had recorded over 100,000 Covid-19 cases with 3,005 deaths since the February 20 outbreak.

“Today [December 20] is the first day in 10 months that Cambodia has zero death with only seven new infections.

The prime minister, however, stopped short of regarding this as a major success as many people have lost their lives to the disease.

While noting that Cambodia has at least managed to avert a tragedy, the premier called on the public to continue practising preventive measures as the government strives to procure more vaccines for the population.

“Today, I can announce an end to the February 20 event. But I don’t mean an end to the fight against Covid-19 – we’re just announcing an end to the February 20 event. The Covid-19 battle is still an ongoing task that cannot be ignored,” he said.

He continued that the people and authorities at all levels have to work together to protect society through the efforts of each individual, family and community by implementing health measures that include vaccinations for everyone.

“Let there be no other events like that one. Let there be only a decrease in infections and a decrease in deaths until we have a death rate of zero. And I would like to call on all citizens to step up their precautions to protect their lives and contribute to the protection of their communities as well as our country as a whole so that we may continue our socio-economic recovery, which has gone smoothly so far,” he said.

The Ministry of Health announced that adolescents aged 12-17 can begin receiving a third dose, or booster shot, of the Sinopharm vaccines on January 3, 2022, beginning with Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong.

The ministry said Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng provinces will start third doses for adolescents on January 10.

Tbong Khmum, Pailin, Kep and Ratanakkiri provinces will start them on January 17.

Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey provinces will start them on January 18.

Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Prey Veng, Banteay Meanchey, Kampot and Stung Treng provinces will start them from January 19-25.

The ministry added that booster shots should be given at least four months after receiving a second dose for those aged 12-17.

“We continue to work hard together for the success and survival of our nation. This is the stage where we are learning to live with Covid-19. In this stage, it is important to complete all vaccinations and receive booster shots while still practicing the preventive health measures so that we can overcome this new Omicron variant, which has already entered our country,” Hun Sen said.

He added that 2.3 million doses of the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccines were scheduled to arrive in Cambodia sometime around December 26-28 courtesy of Australia. He also thanked China, the US, Japan, UK and the Netherlands for providing Covid-19 vaccines to Cambodia.

According to the health ministry, vaccinations had been administered to 88.91 per cent of Cambodia’s total population of around 16 million as of December 19.

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