King lauds gov’t, Nat’l Assembly for achievement in Covid fight

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman in a face mask walks in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh in March 2020. Hong Menea

King Norodom Sihamoni praised the government and National Assembly (NA) for their outstanding achievements in the fight against Covid-19, in his public proclamation marking the NA’s opening of its 8th session in the 6th mandate on October 3.

The King said he was very pleased to see Cambodia reopen fully across all sectors and credited the achievements in the three-year Covid-19 battle to Prime Minister Hun Sen and NA president Heng Samrin.

“The government has shown thorough consideration for the plight of the people in issuing its social protection policies in this difficult situation and the policy of making vaccinations free of charge and available to everyone in the Kingdom successfully created herd immunity in our communities.

“Now our people are healthy and feel refreshed and they can get back to work safely and confidently,” the King wrote, while also lauding the NA for passing laws deemed necessary to contain the pandemic.

Back in April 2021, Hun Sen, through the ministries of Health and National Defence, launched the so-called “Blossom Strategy”, a nationwide Covid-19 jab drive which kicked off in central areas of the country before expanding throughout the country.

In March of this year, during the inauguration of the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital, Hun Sen hailed the success of the strategy – one that he said had become apparent to the world.

“Cambodia has experienced and achieved success by using vaccines. But merely having vaccines in stockpile did not translate into success. The driving force behind the achievement was the Blossom Strategy, which first fully covered Phnom Penh and [neighbouring] Kandal province before expanding.

“Then we sent the vaccines to the provinces by selecting which locations to blanket before moving to another location. If we got the vaccines and just divided them up by an equal percentage to each province, then there’d be no immunity today in the community,” Hun Sen said.

He noted that the government carried on with its Covid-19 strategies despite initial criticism by some civil society organisations due to its push for the law on the control of Covid-19 and other contagious diseases, among other stringent measures.

He said some of measures mandated strict enforcement and punishments, but in the end those provisions were rarely used by the authorities thanks to good compliance among the public.

As of August, more than 95 per cent of the country’s estimated population of 16 million have been vaccinated against Covid-19, at least with their second dose.