Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday officially ended the “November 28 community incident” with the assurance that the relevant authorities had done their best to track down COVID-19 victims’ contacts.
The closure to the incident was announced with no new community transmissions since December 15.
Mr Hun Sen, however, reminded Cambodians not to take the COVID-19 lightly as an outbreak can happen any time and it is crucial they continue abiding by the preventive measures.
He said the World Health Organization (WHO) has praised Cambodia for being ranked among the top nations with the best COVID-19 containment and impact management.
Till date, there are 364 COVID-19 cases recorded with 360 recoveries. Three Cambodians and an Indonesian are currently in hospital receiving treatment.
Mr Hun Sen said Cambodia will not ban foreigners, including the British who are suffering the “rapid spread of the new variant of the COVID-10 virus”, from entering the country.
He said the frontliners at all entry points must tighten their checks and ensure that all those who enter the Kingdom via airports, ports, and borders are quarantined and tested for COVID-19.
As to the request for more doctors to handle the pandemic, Mr Hun Sen said they planned to have 3,000 designated medical professionals next year to attend to COVID-19 cases and will increase the number if the situation warrants.
For the moment, he added, the situation is very much under control and the doctors can be deployed in areas where their expertise is needed to manage and treat patients.
He said he had discussed the matter with Aun Pornmoniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance and was ready for any eventualities including if the Kingdom has a new virus strain.
“This team of doctors that we have selected are the best and who are willing to work hard to fight the disease,” said Mr Hun Sen.
While reiterating that Cambodia will only take COVID-19 vaccines that are approved by the WHO, he said, they may look outside the COVAX initiative to procure vaccines to achieve their goal of vaccinating 80 percent of the population.
He said these vaccines could be purchased by direct dealing with manufacturers or via a development partner.
The COVAX initiative will cover about 20 percent of the population, according to current estimates.
While no vaccine has been approved by the WHO, other vaccines have been approved by various national and international regulatory agencies.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a joint effort between companies in the United States and Germany, was approved for use by the United Kingdom Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on December 2, the US Food and Drug Administration on December 11, and the European Medicines Agency on December 21, giving it the green light to be used in each of the European Union’s 27 countries.
In Asia, Chinese-based Sinovac has forged ahead distributing its CoronaVac vaccine domestically and abroad. It’s been used in China, but not has been approved elsewhere.
Chinese-owned Sinopharm’s vaccine has been more widely used than Sinovac’s vaccine, both in China and abroad. It’s been approved for emergency use by China, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Last month, the company’s chairman said more than one million people worldwide had been vaccinated with Sinopharm’s vaccine.