Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet has instructed the heads of all units to reschedule their teams’ shifts to maximise social distancing. He said overcrowded working conditions could accelerate transmission rates of the Omicron coronavirus variant which could in turn reduce operational sustainability.

Thet issued the instructions on February 21, following earlier recommendations by National Police chief Neth Savoeun on February 18.

“All units must have disinfection gel and masks available in front of the entrance to their offices to ensure all staff are protected appropriately. Work should be divided into shifts as much as possible; however, no unit should compromise its operational capabilities,” he said.

All units will also begin conducting rapid tests on their officers immediately. If a positive result is returned, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing should be undergone immediately. Any Covid-19 cases should be treated according to the Ministry of Health guidelines. Units should monitor the conditions of any staff members who become infected.

Thet also suggested strict controls for any guests who enter the offices. They must wear masks at all times and should not be admitted without a temperature check. They should access only the part of the unit that is necessary, and should not roam around the office. Their condition should be monitored at all times.

Separately, Or Vandine, head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said that as of February 18 Cambodia had received 43,792,530 Covid-19 vaccine doses, some via purchase and some through donations.

She said the vaccines rollout had been successful with only about nine million doses remaining in stock.

Meanwhile, senior health ministry officials have reminded all citizens aged 5 and over to make sure that their booster shots were up to date.

The national vaccination committee requested that municipal and provincial governors, all health department directors and local authorities at all levels pay more attention to the promotion of vaccination in their respective jurisdictions.

“We must continue to promote vaccination and extend the times they are available to the public. We should open vaccination centre on weekends and holidays. We should also arrange for vaccines to be delivered to isolated communities, so they too can be inoculated,” she said.

Vandine on February 21 also urged caution among people who are on medication for Covid-19.

“Please use only medicine that is registered with the ministry, and check the registration number on the box. There are some illegal copies being sold,” she said.