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Vandine: Complacency, negligence buoys Covid case counts

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Medical workers take samples from residents for Covid-19 testing in Phnom Penh. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Vandine: Complacency, negligence buoys Covid case counts

The Kingdom's average daily coronavirus case count remains above expected levels, a reality that one senior health official blames on complacency and negligence over Covid preventive rules among authorities, businesses and the public.

In a two-page commentary released on June 19, Ministry of Health spokesperson and National Covid-19 Vaccination Commission head Or Vandine stressed that everyone must assume an active role in the Covid fight by practicing the “three do’s and three don’ts” principles, and cautioned that fears and concerns accompanying the pandemic should be tempered by reason and bolstered by action.

The “three do’s”, as introduced by Prime Minister Hun Sen in February last year, are wearing face masks, washing hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from other people. The “three don’ts” entail avoiding crowded places, close-contact settings and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

Vandine said: “In practice to date, shortcomings remain when it comes to the observation of the three don’ts. More attention is required to influence the behaviour of individuals and business owners so that they consistently practice the three don’ts and abide by authorities’ instructions.

“We all too often hear people say they’re afraid of Covid-19, but those fears don’t appear to correspond to the disease transmission rates, which are still high every day.

“If we’re afraid, we’ve got to do whatever we can to prevent the spread – keep close tabs on the situation, protect ourselves, avoid gatherings and unnecessary travel. Doing all of this will only bring down the virus transmission rates,” she said.

She added that fear should be turned into action and that comprehensive safeguards against the SARS-CoV-2 virus must be put in place, with the heightened risks posed by the new variants firmly in mind.

The public must not to be lulled into a false sense of security that the virus is not at large in the community, she warned, adding that a number of Covid patients had reported being unaware of the virus infection until falling seriously ill and having potentially passed the pathogen to family members.

“It is paramount that individuals take their health into consideration over large gatherings or reopening businesses – take risk-preventive measures, especially as new viral variants loom,” she said, urging the fully-vaccinated to follow the “three do’s and three don’ts” as well.

As of June 19, Cambodia had recorded a total of 42,052 Covid-19 cases, with 36,868 recoveries and 414 fatalities.

On June 19 alone, the health ministry reported 471 Covid-19 cases, all but 45 of which were linked to the February 20 community outbreak, with a record high of 20 new deaths and 928 recoveries.

Earlier on June 19, the ministry also announced that the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, first identified in India and previously known as B.1.617.2, had been detected in seven Cambodian migrant workers who recently returned from Thailand through various checkpoints.

The seven cases were detected in five different provinces – one in Banteay Meanchey, two in Oddar Meanchey, two in Siem Reap, one in Kampong Cham and another in Kampot.

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