The rapid pace of Cambodia’s coronavirus vaccination campaigns and subsequent booster shot drives will be key to a faster economic reopening, according to a senior World Bank official on September 13.
The Washington-based development lender’s vice-president for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, made the remark during a virtual courtesy call on Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.
The minister called on the World Bank to reconsider its lending terms for highly concessional loans to Cambodia and temporarily refrain from introducing tougher rules, and afford the Kingdom improved access to financing for large-scale infrastructure investments to support economic rehabilitation after the Covid-19 crisis.
“[We] also request the World Bank mobilise resources … [and] grant credit and financing for development and social protection projects, such as those related to education, occupational training and health, which will be in greater demand, especially in the post-Covid-19 context,” he said.
Kwakwa acclaimed the Cambodian government for its relative success in controlling the spread of Covid-19, swift booster plan efforts which she contended outstrip those of other developing countries, as well as the reopening of public and private educational institutions.
She proceeded to laud the “good partnership cooperation between the World Bank and the Cambodian government under the spirit of mutual respect and respect for Cambodian sovereignty”.
The minister said that to date, the Kingdom had vaccinated more than 90 per cent of the target adult population of 10 million and over 1.4 million of nearly two million in the 12-17 age group.
“Cambodia will also reopen all public and private educational institutions at the middle and high school levels soon, but not those at the primary level.
“In addition, Cambodia plans to relaunch economic activity in a way geared towards the ‘new normal’ for different sectors, starting with education, followed by domestic tourism and then for fully-vaccinated tourists,” Pornmoniroth said.
Public and private educational institutions throughout the country that meet conditions related to hygiene, environment and health measures and can implement the standard operating procedures (SOP) are due to reopen from September 15.
In Phnom Penh, governor Khuong Sreng said both public and private schools from grade 7-12 will reopen after missing more than seven months due to the pandemic. If this reopening goes smoothly, the municipal administration will permit kindergartens and primary schools to follow.
And as the Kingdom moves to prepare for the eventual return of international travel, the Ministry of Tourism on September 1 introduced a set of minimum SOPs for four major classes of tourism businesses, which is tailored to shift the industry back into gear in a “new normal”.
These SOPs are tailored to support businesses in their daily activities and enable them to adapt to the post-Covid-19 world, as the Kingdom emerges from the pandemic and pushes ahead with tentative plans to reopen tourism towards the end of this year.
The four classes of businesses covered by the SOPs are tourism accommodation service providers; tourist eateries; tourist resorts; and eco- and community-based tourism operators.