PM set for Japan’s Covid jabs

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Prime Minister Hun Sen shakes hands with Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Mikami Masahiro at Peace Palace in October 2019. SPM

Prime Minister Hun Sen will personally receive the one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the Japanese government that is expected to arrive in Cambodia on July 23, according to the Ministry of National Defence on July 21.

The ministry’s information department said this is the second time Hun Sen has personally welcomed Covid-19 vaccines donated by “friends” of Cambodia at the airport. The prime minister welcomed the first batch of 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines donated by the Chinese government on February 7 .

Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami said last week after his government announced the donation that the assistance demonstated strong ties between the two countries and in timely response to the current Covid-19 situation.

“I hope that this assistance will support the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19, as well as reduce some of the Cambodian people’s concerns,” he said.

The Japanese government has provided more than $50 million in assistance to Cambodia, including the provision of medical facilities, hospital improvements, and support for projects by international organisations for measures to prevent cross-border transmission, as well as equipment for transporting and storing vaccines properly.

Japan has also provided around $227 million in loans to support cash aid programmes for people affected by Covid-19 and to strengthen the healthcare system.

As of July 20, Cambodia had vaccinated more than 6.2 million people, or 62 per cent of the targeted 10 million, in a nationwide campaign now scheduled to be completed in October or early November this year.

Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath said another one million doses of Sinopharm vaccine, which Cambodia had purchased from China, will arrive in Cambodia on July 22. These two batches will bring the number of vaccines that Cambodia has received in July to six million.

So far, the Kingdom has received more than 16 million doses – most of which through purchases and donations from China. Of the total, 5.2 million doses are from Sinopharm and 10.5 million from Sinovac. Cambodia has also received 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines provided through the World Health Organisation-led Covax Facility.

Another four million doses will be delivered in August from China. This will enable the government to reach the target of 10 million people as planned.

Meanwhile, Siem Reap Provincial Administration on July 20 kicked off vaccinations for foreigners who live and work in the province. The jabs are available at the provincial referral hospital.

Liv Sokhon, director of the provincial Department of Information, told The Post on July 21 that in the first day of vaccinations for foreigners, more than 700 received the jabs.

“[A] total of 745 foreigners received free vaccines in one day,” he said.

Sokhon said that foreigners in the province have until July 23 to receive a vaccine. There are 2,120 foreigners registered for vaccinations.