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PM renews booster calls as Omicron strains roam

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Cambodia has thus far received more than 53 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, of which 75 to 78 per cent have been administered to the public. Hong Menea

PM renews booster calls as Omicron strains roam

Prime Minister Hun Sen has reiterated his calls for everyone to get vaccinated against Covid-19 so that Cambodia does not suffer a setback because of Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 that are circulating in the Kingdom.

Hun Sen made the remarks on July 14 at a meeting to review the situation for tourism workers, co-organised by the Ministry of Tourism and tourism-related businesses.

“We must continue to focus our attention on the fight against Covid-19 and do so with conviction. We’ve reopened the country. We do not have to walk backwards towards lockdowns because we have given a lot of vaccinations and we’ve achieved a high level of immunity in our communities. But we must not underestimate or forget [Covid-19],” he said.

Though the current situation is not yet serious, he said it is necessary for the head of government to remind everyone to protect themselves and get booster shots.

“I have seen that rates of PCR tests are more than 10 per cent of the number of samples. Before, some 2,000 samples had all tested negative. But now, out of 80 samples there were 13 that tested positive. As you can see, that’s higher than 10 per cent,” Hun Sen said.

He continued that most of the infected people were discovered when applying for health certificates to go abroad. Thus, the sub-variants have started infecting many people, not just in Phnom Penh, but also in the provinces and everyone must practise preventive measures.

The premier said Covid-19 vaccinations helped prevent severe illness, but those who haven’t received booster shots and have declining immunity could be susceptible to severe illness.

“We will still move forward and it is good that our people are still implementing protective health measures. But what still concerns us is booster shots. Over four million people or nearly five million people have not yet received their third doses when a number of people have already received their fourth and fifth shots,” he said.

Or Vandine, Ministry of Health spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said omicron had now mutated into many forms and sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 have been reported across the world, including Cambodia.

“And BA.5 also mutated into other forms, including BA.5.1 and BA.5.2 and those can spread faster than previous Omicron variants and can infect fully-vaccinated people after our immunity declines,” she said on July 13, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Vandine said the only way to slow down the sub-variants is getting vaccinated to protect against severe illness and reduce hospitalisations and deaths.

Cambodia has thus far received more than 53 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, of which 75 to 78 per cent have been administered to the public.


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