While the government prepares to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, it has appealed to the public to understand that vaccinations will not be a panacea solution and to remember to remain vigilant in efforts to prevent spread of infection.
Ministry of Health secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said on December 9: “I would like to call on all Cambodians to realise that even when we eventually have a vaccine, it will not be the only answer in preventing transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
“It will not be the case that we can let our guard down and disregard protective measures. That would be dangerous.”
“This is a very important point commonly repeated by the World Health Organisation [WHO] in appealing to all countries of the world – that when there is a vaccine available, all people must not forget about personal protection measures, especially the three most important points – wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining personal space of more than 1.5m.”
She pointed out that there is not yet a vaccine officially sanctioned by the WHO, and as there will not immediately be one, while the public continues to be diligent in practices, it is important to be patient as research and safety evaluations proceeds.
The WHO has requested all prospective vaccine manufacturers to disclose official documents analysing the quality and efficiency of their products prior their use on the public, Vandine noted.
By press time, the government had received nearly $37 million in donations to purchase Covid-19 vaccines.
The ministry also announced that four additional people had tested positive for Covid-19 stemming from the November 28 community transmission.
Two are employees of the Pedro footwear store while the other two had been customers at Pedro and the Zando fashion outlet.
Ith Komal, a 35 year-old male living in Boeung Keng Kang district’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune, visited Zando on November 27. Tov Koemhok, a 27 year-old male from Meanchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune, visited Pedro’s Sihanouk Boulevard store, coming in contact with infected store employees Sorn Sanpanharith, a 20 year-old male from Kandal province’s Takhmao town, and Long Sokny, a 33 year-old female from Takhmao town’s Prek Russey commune.
Separately, Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn told The Post on December 9 that he had decided to temporarily close the Khyang market and Vihear Tranh pagoda in Kandal Stung district after learning of someone from the area having been infected: Eam Thida, whose results were announced by the ministry on December 8.
“So far, we have found 44 people connected to the exposure, and we’ve already put them in quarantine. We are continuing to search for any more people who have been affected,” he said.
Sophorn added that family members and other housemates of infected individuals were at particularly high risk.
Per the health ministry’s report on December 9, Cambodia has 354 registered Covid-19 cases, including 307 people having recovered and 47 undergoing treatment.
Also on December 9, the Australian Embassy in Cambodia and the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) jointly announced the launch of the Cambodia Covid-19 Development Response Plan.
“In the spirit of partnership, the Australian Government, in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia, through a series of consultations, has developed this plan, which shall run until June 2022. This plan will guide Australia’s support for Cambodia’s socio-economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis,” the press release said.
In order to implement the plan, Australia will provide $85 million in grant funding to Cambodia as part of an ongoing bilateral cooperation programme.
This financing will be in addition to $170 million that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced in support of economic integration and development of the Mekong countries and the $445 million of financing that Australia has committed to provide for distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
CDC senior official Chhieng Yanara affirmed the royal government’s appreciation for the support offered to the Cambodian people, describing such partnerships as vital to Cambodia’s recovery from Covid-19 and its development into a middle-income country with a crisis-resilient social environment.
On December 9, a group of nine unions, associations and civil society organisations submitted a petition to the government and private sector business groups to increase investment in the social protection system and take action to meet the priority needs of women, farmers and workers inside and outside the system.
These institutions have asked the government to provide a monthly subsidy of $40 during the Covid-19 outbreak to workers in all sectors. They note that this would also facilitate more comprehensive registrations in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Health Equity Fund.
Among the petition’s many aims, it seeks measures to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workforce; stop violence committed by close partners; strengthen law enforcement; protect rights of farmers by addressing land rules and including farmers into social security legislation; and provide an additional $76 per month subsidy to garment and footwear workers suspended from work.