PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

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Prime Minister Hun Sen. Heng Chivoan

World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19.

In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Thursday, Tedros thanked Hun Sen for his commitment to global efforts in mitigating the Covid-19 impact.

“I have the honour to thank the government of Cambodia for taking acute action to operationalise the recently launched Covid-19 Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

“I seize this opportunity to commend the efforts of your government to contain the pandemic. A special appreciation also goes to the public health workers on the frontlines of this fight against Covid-19,” he said.

Tedros also expressed his support for the political leadership and personal engagement and role of Hun Sen, saying that WHO at the global, regional and country levels stood ready to continue to work with Cambodia, and partners at large in the fight against the common threat posed by Covid-19.

The highly contagious disease has spread to 217 countries across the world, infecting more than 5.7 million people and claiming over 356,000 lives.

Cambodia first detected the disease in February and has so far reported 124 cases. Among them, 122 have been discharged from hospital. The Kingdom has not recorded a single death. The Ministry of Health said most of the cases were imported.

The latest cases were found last week in a 26-year-old Cambodian man, who travelled from the Philippines, and a 39-year-old Cambodian woman who tested positive after a trip to New York City, one of the US’ Covid-19 hotspots.

Both returned to the Kingdom through connecting flights in South Korea.

Through his official Facebook page on Thursday, Hun Sen repeated his call for the public to remain vigilant against a second wave of infections. He said Cambodia has not been complacent despite the relatively low number of infections and zero death.

He urged people to maintain good hygiene practices, social distancing and follow other WHO and health ministry guidelines.

“Until now, we do not have a Covid-19 vaccine. So [people] must wear facemasks and wash hands regularly with alcohol or gel to kill the virus.

“Cover your mouths with scarves or facemasks and use your elbow when coughing or sneezing, especially in crowded places such as markets, restaurants and workplaces,” he said.

To prevent a second wave of infections, the government has ordered all passengers arriving from abroad to be taken to waiting centres upon departing an aircraft.

They will also have their samples taken for testing and wait for results from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.

If a passenger tests positive, fellow passengers will be kept in quarantine at government-mandated locations.

Passengers who are not found to have been infected with the disease are allowed to self-quarantine at home.