Phnom Penh, May 16, 2020: I cannot wait to tell the world that, as of today, my Southeast Asian nation has no COVID-19 disease – the last patient of the disease in the country was discharged from the hospital on Saturday.
No deaths from the disease have been reported since the Coronavirus hit Cambodia early this year, one of very few countries in the region with zero reported fatalities.
A study of other countries shows successful responses to the crisis depend upon effective leaders and Cambodia had the great leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen who spearheaded the fight against the deadly Coronavirus, working tirelessly for the interest of this nation and its people, as well as foreigners who get free medical treatment for the disease.
Such good news does not mean the virus has disappeared or flown away from us forever. As yet we have no vaccine against COVID-19. In other words, the Coronavirus is still flying around here and there on this beautiful Earth.
So, if the COVID-19 is far from over we must continue to be vigilant at all times and keep hygienically clean, keep wearing masks, do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth where the virus can get into our body and attack us.
In this respect, the instructions by both Cambodia’s ministry of health and the World Health Organization still bear merit in many ways.
This reminds me a great deal of when Prime Minister Hun Sen continued to raise nationwide public awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus. Regardless of whether he chaired closed-door meetings or public forums he wanted to see that his people, and foreigners who are living and working in Cambodia, are healthy because this contributes to social and economic development.
Recall that the premier, while chairing a recent cabinet meeting, kept calling the people to be cautious about the virus. To prevent the spread of the virus, he pleaded with Cambodian workers overseas to continue to stay and work wherever they were for the time being and not yet return home because most of the total 122 cases of COVID-19 are imported ones.
It was a sacrifice for their nation and they responded to his call.
No schools, public or private, are allowed to re-open while we are vigilant in stopping the virus spread; while students are studying online which is a good experience for e-learning, which will play a bigger role in the nation’s education as we recover from the crisis.
At one point, the premier told the cabinet that there is no rush to re-open schools. While the government needs to look into holistic approaches before a decision is made to do so. However, the authority never shutdown restaurants but did keep instructing them to maintain preventative hygiene and keep clean.
The government also took various preventative measures participated in by the concerned ministries and institutions along with contributions from friendly countries – such as China, the US World Health Organization (WHO), which provided assistance, medical personnel and some equipment last month – that enabled the country to stand in good shape to fight and contain Coronavirus/ COVID-19.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, under his great and indisputable leadership, has navigated the ship of Cambodia and overcome a number of obstacles, such as the Coronavirus/ COVID-19 crisis.
To me, working as a spokesman of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I always read different kinds of reports, listen to my leaders’ talks, read news about the public’s opinions and write up reports for archives – and I am ready to respond to mass media questions about the government’s achievements.
Other Cambodian officials, such as medics, perform their duties professionally. This is what we mean by joining hands with the premier to deliver greater public service to our beloved Cambodians from all walks of life.
Nobody is perfect in this world, but please be open-minded and accept the reality on the ground. The government does its best, working as a brotherhood of one united family, living and working together building the new Cambodia on an ancient land.
Getting back to my daily activities today, part of it is to write an editorial opinion about the news that Cambodia has discharged its last COVID-19 patient.
The report also helps my academic research because I want to pursue my PhD in political science, in addition to my historical books and novels.
Having said that, it does not mean that I hang up calls from journalists near and far and that I no longer have to be thoughtful before making statements. But today, I cannot wait to say, “Congratulations Cambodia for having no COVID-19 patients, a remarkable achievement.”
Ek Tha, adviser to the Ministry of Information, standing vice-chairman of the Royal Government Spokesman Unit, Spokesman of the Office of the Council of Ministers
- Tags: COVID-19 in Cambodia