Covid surge prompts anti-Covid education campaign

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Health minister Mam Bun Heng distributes traditional Chinese medicines to people in Siem Reap province on Friday. MAM BUN HENG VIA FACEBOOK

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng on September 18 urged the Phnom Penh municipal governor and his provincial counterparts to promote greater community awareness and participation in the Covid-19 fight, amid an eight-day trend of over 600 new daily cases.

In a letter addressed to the governors, the minister highlighted that Covid-19 prevention efforts have yielded promising results overall, and that vaccination campaigns have made commendable progress across the board.

Nevertheless, the rising trend of new cases in a number of provinces has prompted the need for a public awareness campaign, which is to be undertaken under the theme ‘Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 is Everyone’s Responsibility’, Bun Heng said.

The rate of new transmissions has ticked upwards since September 10, when 660 new cases and 12 deaths were reported. On September 17, 698 transmissions and 11 fatalities were logged.

Bun Heng said the campaign must centre around the “three protections and three don'ts” and encourage individuals and communities nationwide to assume more responsibility for their health, and engage in various initiatives to combat Covid-19.

“I would like to remind provincial authorities and those in the capital to maintain close attention and carry out the national campaign in a concerted manner, and take firm responsibility in the prevention of Covid-19 transmission,” he said.

The minister proposed the authorities work with communities and use loudspeakers, banners, leaflets, radio, television and social media to deliver the associated campaign messages to the public, stressing that everyone must adhere to Covid-19 prevention protocols, regardless of vaccination status.

Bun Heng emphasised that spreading awareness is especially important at higher risk locations for contracting the coronavirus, such as markets and supermarkets, restaurants and other places where food is sold, factories, banks, and other businesses, all of which are in a setting officially dubbed “3C” – crowded, close-contact and confined.

Staff at these locations must pay much closer attention to Covid-19 safety protocols when dealing with customers, the minister said.

He told authorities: “Take administrative and legal action against individuals and businesses that fail to comply with the health ministry’s guidelines.”