With Cambodia still reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Hun Sen has committed to donating his monthly salary for another seven months to help the nation tide over the coronavirus crisis.
The Premier announced his commitment in a message posted on his official Facebook page yesterday, which said: “To contribute to combating COVID-19, last year I donated my whole salary after paying the state payroll tax for seven months to the Ministry of Health.”
“My salary is 10 million riels ($2,463) per month, I have to pay 910,000 riels ($224) per month for tax and thereafter 9,090,000 riels ($2,238) per month, in total 63,639,000 riel ($15,674) in seven months, were donated to the Ministry of Health.”
The Prime Minister, who is strongly committed to overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and has successfully contained the spread of the virus in the Kingdom with zero deaths, said the new donation will start from February until August this year.
Mr Hun Sen also expressed his profound thanks to all those who have voluntarily donated their whole salary or deducted some part of it to support the fight against COVID-19, which he added reflected the solidarity among the Cambodian people.
As of yesterday, Cambodia reported 460 confirmed cases of COVID-19 of which 412 victims have recovered with zero deaths.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng in a letter yesterday asked all provincial governors to further strengthen COVID-19 preventive measures at ceremonies and weddings.
He added the government has relaxed a number of stringent measures, such as allowing the reopening of schools, traditionally held social programmes and religious activities but under conditions of everyone following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) outlined by the Ministry of Health and the Inter-Ministerial Commission to combat the spread of COVID-19.
However, Bun Heng expressed concern that compliance to SOPs at large gatherings such as at events and weddings was still low and feared this could trigger another community outbreak if stringent measures are not put in place effectively.
“If someone at the event or wedding has COVID-19, he or she could spread to others, be it family members, relatives, friends, or even others participating in the function. This could spark another community outbreak,” he said.
For this not to happen, Bun Heng urged the sub-national authorities to take on the responsibility of strengthening their preventive measures, monitor and manage all situations within their jurisdiction and ensure that everyone abides by the SOPs if they are allowed to hold events, weddings, or have public gatherings.
He said the organisers of any event should be clearly briefed on the dos and don’ts and should take the responsibility of making sure that all those who come or attend are checked on their body temperature, hands sanitised and adhere to social distancing.
“Only five people are allowed to be seated in a table for 10 people,” he said, adding that hand sanitisers should be placed at strategic locations so that people can sanitise when needed.
He also said that people should refrain from shaking hands but rather follow the Khmer style of greeting.