Prime Minister Hun Sen hailed the continuous improvement of the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia, saying the pandemic could have been catastrophic for the Kingdom without the necessary government-instituted containment measures.

Hun Sen made the remarks on May 12 while meeting with about 2,000 Cambodians living in the US and Canada during his visit for the ASEAN-US Special Summit, noting that there had been zero Covid-19 cases recorded for the fifth consecutive day.

“The fight against Covid-19 is not a simple fight – it is a tough battle. Disaster would have befallen Cambodia if we did not have the right public health measures in place and – more importantly – the full participation of the Cambodian people, because our measures wouldn't have helped much if no one was willing to follow them," he said.

He added that at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, there were some foreigners – including foreign reporters – who underestimated Cambodia’s ability to manage the pandemic and the nation's response capacity due to what they said was the "weakness" of the country's health system.

“Now, we can conclude that efforts by countries with advanced healthcare systems were plagued by uncertainty about whether it was actually important at all to defeat Covid, whereas countries with weak healthcare systems were uncertain about whether they actually even could defeat Covid.

"In the US, which is a technological superpower – and in France, Germany and other developed countries – there were many more deaths," he said.

Cambodian people living in the US listen to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech in Washington, DC, on Thursday. SPM

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine cautioned that although the Covid-19 situation has improved and it is the pride of Cambodia and the people, they must not forget the lessons learned during the difficult periods.

“Samdech prime minister has often reminded our people to learn to live with the presence of Covid-19. Today, all over the world, it is still spreading. Please take care and continue to follow the guidelines offered by the head of the government because this virus is still circulating,” she said.

She added that although infections in some countries were on the decline, everybody had to continue to implement the protective measures and remain vigilant so that Cambodia keeps moving forward in a positive direction that is sustainable and takes the "new normal" situation into account over the long term.

“We do not want to go back to sadness and lockdowns. We do not want a return of widespread community transmission... We must join forces and be responsible as individuals, families and communities in keeping our guard up and protecting ourselves against the spread of contagious diseases, especially Covid-19,” she said.