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Cambodia to get 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia celebrates the annual Meak Bochea Day on the top hill of Preah Reachtroap (Oudong) 2019. KT/Khem Sovannara

Cambodia is expected to receive 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine of which 11 million doses are donations from friendly nations and partner organisations.

Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary of state, Vongsey Vissoth said the first phase of seven million doses of the vaccine will arrive via the United-Nations backed COVAX facility.

He said that for the first phase, Cambodian will receive seven million doses of the vaccines through COVAX initiative, one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccines donated by China, which is expected to arrive in the country by February, and 3 million doses purchased by a grant provided by the Australian government.

“For now, we will receive 11 million doses through aids and donation,” Vissoth said. “We can have more, as Samdech Prime Minister [Hun Sen] has asked India to donate their vaccine to us while Samdech Tea Banh [ Defence Minister] has already made the same request to Russia.”

He added that Cambodia was a small country and the vaccination drive will inject confidence for investors, both local and foreign, to invest in the Kingdom while the move will jump-start development and national economic recovery to weather the economic shocks created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Tea Banh, Minister of Defence, said they have also requested vaccines from Russia.

So far, he added, the government has received more than $57 million from wealthy Cambodians to help authorities pay for the purchase of vaccine doses that the Kingdom is purchasing.

Meanwhile today (Jan 28), Cambodia will start its two-days annual  Meak Bochea Day celebration on the top hill of Preah Reachtroap (Oudong), Ponhea Leu district, Kandal province, where a stupa of Buddha’s relics is located.

Minister of the National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An will preside over this year’s celebration with the participation of high-ranking officials of the Senate, National Assembly, and Government.

Some 300 Buddhist monks will join the celebration with worshippers while authorities have called on all those participating to adhere to the safety measures to prevent possible community transmission of COVID-19.

Seng Somony, the spokesman for the Ministry of Cults and Religions, said they have not limited the number of people attending the Meak Bochea festival and thus everyone should take responsibility for adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines on the wearing of facemasks and social distancing.

He added although COVID-19 positive cases are still reported, the ministry will allow all pagodas to hold Meakha Bochea ceremony as it is one of the major festivals that Buddhists not only in Cambodia but worldwide.

Or Vandine, Health Ministry spokeswoman said Cambodia will receive the first 300,000 doses of the China vaccine on Monday, and on hand to receive them at the airport will be Prime Minister Hun Sen who had also announced that he will be the first to be vaccinated to give the Cambodians the trust and confidence that the vaccine doses are safe to take.

She also called on Cambodians to continue adhering to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines and not to take COVID-19 lightly.

She reminded those organising events and weddings to strictly comply with MoH rulings including social distancing, taking of temperature and only five to a table meant for 10 people.

Vandine urged all travellers entering the Kingdom via border, port, and airport to comply strictly with the 14-day quarantine and not attempt to flee as by doing so they may infect the community if they are carriers of the virus.

 

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