Officials from the Health and Finance Ministries have held an urgent meeting on sourcing and funding COVID-19 vaccines as Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that more than $30 million has so far been raised from donors for purchases.
Yesterday’s meeting via video conference comes a day after Mr Hun Sen directed both ministries to seek doses for the Kingdom.
However, officials are tight-lipped over the outcome of the meeting with one saying that it was up to the Prime Minister to make an announcement.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told Khmer Times yesterday that officials are continuing discussions and there is no decision yet on what type of COVID-19 vaccine to buy
and whether it will be sourced from China, Russia, the United States or any other country.
“We are still meeting and I just want to make it clear that all vaccines currently developed have still not been approved by the World Health Organization,” she added.
However, Vandine said that Cambodia would not wait for the WHO to officially approve any vaccine before going ahead to seek supplies.
“This has to be decided by the Prime Minister. After he decides, I will explain further,” she added.
Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Meas Soksensan told Khmer Times yesterday: “After all discussions are over, the Prime Minister will announce which country Cambodia will buy the vaccine from.”
Mr Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page yesterday that more than $30 million has so far been donated to buy COVID-19 vaccine doses.
He said that the participation from donors was done in a spirit of solidarity and a culture of sharing in the fight against COVID-19 among Cambodians.
He called on people to continue donating amid efforts to seek COVID-19 vaccine doses for 10 million people.
“Let our compatriots who want to send money to buy the COVID-19 vaccine, which is for 10 million people who will need up to 20 million doses with one million doses needed in the first phase for 500,000 people who are working in high-risk areas,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen also thanked monks and the public for their support in the fight against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, former opposition leader Kem Sokha yesterday voiced his support for the government’s plan to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and provide them free of charge to Cambodian citizens.
“I support the measures taken by the Royal Government of Cambodia to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the recent announcement to buy one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to provide to Cambodian citizens free of charge,” Sokha wrote on his Facebook page.
He also expressed his appreciation to the donors who have generously contributed towards the purchase of vaccines.
In related news, the Health Ministry yesterday conducted a second round of mass testing at Olympic Stadium for members of the public involved in the “November 28 community incident”.
Following the November 28 incident, the Ministry of Health has detected 34 people who tested positive for COVID-19 with more than 13,700 samples tested.
In another development, Cambodia’s COVID-19 community outbreak victims yesterday increased to 34 with two shoppers testing positive.
The first case involved a 22-year-old Cambodian man named Srian Kim Srun, living in Wat Phnom commune, Daun Penh district. He is a law student at the Royal University of Law and Economics and went to Zando Boeng Keng Kang on November 27.
The second case is a Cambodian woman named Eam Thida, 35, living in Boeng Tumpun commune in Meanchey district, who went to Pedro shop on November 27. Both are being treated at the Chak Angre Health Centre.
The Health Ministry is appealing to Zando and Pedro patrons, who may have been come into contact, to go into quarantine immediately.
The ministry also announced there has been one more recovery yesterday, involving a 45-year-old Cambodian-American woman named Chuy Saro, who lives in Pailin City, Pailin province. She was treated and discharged from the Chak Angre Health Center. She arrived in Cambodia from the US via South Korea on November 27.
As of yesterday morning, there are 350 cases of COVID-19 patients in Cambodia of whom 307 have recovered while 43 are still being treated.
The confirmed cases include 232 Cambodians, 45 French, 18 Chinese, 13 Malaysians, 11 Americans, nine Indonesians, six Britons, three Vietnamese, three Canadians, three Indians, two Hungarians, two Pakistanis, one Belgian, one Kazakhstani, and one Pole.