Donors give $9M to fight virus

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King Norodom Sihamoni has donated $200,000 to the Covid-19 response plan. Royal Palace

PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced that the government had received nearly $9 million from Cambodian donors for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. There are 96 who tested positive in the Kingdom as of Wednesday.

Hun Sen made the announcement at a meeting with 422 volunteer doctors before they went on missions with the Ministry of Health to fight the disease.

“Until now, we have received nearly $9 million. I thank and express my gratitude to the King and the Queen Mother. And I thank the various donors for their contributions.

“This shows that the Khmer people love one another. We have the money for our citizens and [donors] have contributed it within only few days. We will continue to receive more donations as the disease is not under control yet,” he said.

Hun Sen said King Norodom Sihamoni had donated $200,000, while Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk contributed $ 100,000.

The government, he said, had not yet used the funds but once the coronavirus is under control and the situation has gone back to normal, he aims to divert any left over money to the Kantha Bopha Foundation.
“The Covid-19 disease has not yet ended. We have to keep and use it to fight against the disease,” he said.

At the event, he also mentioned Oknha Thai Sambath who offered his five-star hotel to serve as a treatment facility for Covid-19 patients free of charge.

Hun Sen reiterated that all Covid-19 positive people in Cambodia, including foreigners, can receive free treatment from Cambodian doctors because it is the obligation of the Kingdom as their hosts.

He said: “The Vietnamese Prime Minister announced that foreign nationals who have contracted this disease must pay for their treatment. We are poor but we have a big heart.

“Anyone who contracts the disease in our land ... we will pay for their treatment. They [foreigners] lack money to return to their homeland. Their families send them money. If they don’t have money, they would be dead!

“We have to take care of them, and they don’t eat the food we do. We must provide them with bread, meat, cheese, and butter. We must feed them well. If we let them eat prahok [Cambodian fermented fish paste], they would probably die of starvation,” he said.

VN Express International on March 14 quoted Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as saying that foreigners in Vietnam had to pay for their treatment if they were Covid-19 positive. However, the test for the virus and quarantine is free.

On March 23, Germany gave 1.5 million EUR to support the government’s Covid-19 Emergency Response Plan to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The Ministry of Health confirmed that as of Wednesday Covid-19 patients had risen to 96. Of the number, six people including a Chinese man, a British and four Cambodians from Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum and Battambang provinces had clinically recovered from it.