Kingdom among world’s few with no Covid-19 deaths

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Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine. Photo supplied

The newspaper The Australian has reported that Cambodia is one of just a few mainland countries to have recorded zero deaths from Covid-19 despite having an underfunded healthcare system.

In response to the report, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post that the report did justice to Cambodia’s efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and she felt it was honest and fair in its reporting.

She said that over the past year some foreign observers located abroad seemed to suspect that Cambodia had no recorded Covid-19 deaths because the government had somehow covered up any deaths that had occurred.

“Now, the truth is coming out and Cambodia has been recognised for its public health efforts and the successful prevention of a widespread Covid-19 outbreak,” she said.

She added that Cambodia’s medical professionals would continue putting Cambodia’s limited healthcare capacities to good use in service to the people and she hoped that the experience of effectively managing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic will prove beneficial to Cambodia should other viral pandemics arise in the future.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on January 22 that he will be inoculated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to arrive from China in order to boost public confidence in the safety of vaccinations.

“My only concern is to do what is best for the interests of the Cambodian people. Once I have been vaccinated I will hold a press conference at Calmette Hospital to announce that Cambodia has officially begun its Covid-19 vaccination campaign,” he said.

At the inauguration of the new Ministry of Public Works and Transport headquarters last week, the prime minister said he wanted to have vaccines for 500,000 people before the Khmer New Year in April.

“Given the [pressing] situation, we cannot wait anymore. We need to find vaccines for our people and provide them at no cost to everyone, on a voluntary basis.

“China has now succeeded in producing two kinds of Covid-19 vaccines. Sinovac is a private company and Sinopharm is a state company. We will use the vaccines from both Sinovac and Sinopharm,” he said.

The prime minister announced that the first shipment of 300,000 doses of the Sinopharm-made vaccine – providing protection for 150,000 people – will arrive in Cambodia in February and that he will be there to receive them in person at Phnom Penh International Airport.

As of January 24, Cambodia had recorded a total of 458 Covid-19 cases with 405 recoveries and zero deaths.