Three ministries have called on people, especially the young, to take part in controlling the spread of Covid-19, especially Omicron, during Valentine’s Day on February 14. The ministries called on parents and police to share the message and to remind youths of Khmer traditions and values.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine on February 13 called for a society-wide effort to prevent the growth of positive cases.

“What should we do to show our appreciation for our loved ones in the context of the fight against Covid-19? Brothers and sisters – do not forget that Omicron is actively circulating in our community, and preventing its spread is the most loving act we can perform,” she said.

She added that they should use their day to show love for their community by actively working to reduce viral transmissions so that we may all continue to live under the new normal for years to come.

Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron also introduced measures to prevent irregular activities on February 14 in public and private schools, as the ministry had noted that a small number of students misunderstood the day as a date between lovers.

He said Valentine’s Day is not a Cambodian tradition, but a small number of young people had forgotten their dignity and deviated from their Khmer culture and traditions.

“All parents, teachers and guardians should educate students as to the true meaning of Valentine’s day,” he said.

He added that all educational institutions must strictly enforce morality by monitoring the attendance of students. In addition, the ministry had advised institutions to work closely with parents, guardians and the community to share information concerning any irregular behaviour by students, in order to correct immoral activities.

The Ministry of Culture suggested that Cambodians use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to share sincere love to those around them and the needy.

“We may also share our love to marginalised groups of people, such as the disabled, orphans, and the needy. Our expression of love might take the form of a kind letter, gifts or perhaps a meal. Of course we must be mindful of Covid-19 preventative measures and maintain social distancing,” it said.

The ministry also called on parents, guardians, and relevant authorities at all levels to participate in educating the young so that their celebrations do not run counter to the traditions of Cambodian culture.