Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Today is (the traditional Buddhist ritual) Pchum Ben Day when people are performing their merits and celebrating almsgiving, even if they had to do it in a new way so that together we can prevent Covid-19 spread. At the same time, people have been moving from one place to another and to various tourist sites since the past few days. (People are in mobility since) yesterday, (and some are doing it) today, (and will be doing it) tomorrow and possibly days after. This is a big test for our country in the new situation as (we completed) second dose and (are providing) boosting dose vaccinations. We will monitor the (consequences) of the test. While we can say it is not a risky test, we cannot say 100% sure that it is not a problem. We are prepared to accept the dire situation that may arise. In India, after the religious ceremonies, the epidemic raged and caused a great deal of contagion and death.
For Cambodia, we are prepared for the worst case that can happen to public health as well as the health of our people. I hope that every monks and nuns in the temples, as well as those of you, who travel to the tourist sites, exercise precautions. At this point, the test will let us (know) whether after Pchum Ben, we will have a serious infection or not. If there will be a serious epidemic, our planning to reopen the country in all sectors will not be possible. On the contrary, if you can protect yourself and the number of infections or deaths is not serious, then our people will get together to reopen the socio-economy, especially schools activities as well as domestic tourism, which is a part of the national economy.
Agriculture and industry have been performing in full swing in our economy. Our exports in agriculture and industry are growing well. However, the impact on services, especially tourism, has slowed our economic growth, although the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank recently forecast that our economic growth would increase from 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent. We have worked hard to improve our economy, which, earlier this year, we set (to achieve growth of) 4.1 percent. However, the lockdowns during the months of April and May reduced (our ability) to realize it […]
(We) have just seen that after (full and booster dose) vaccinations, infections reduced. In this regard, there have been re-evaluations and projections that our economic growth could move to 2.2 percent. If we can resume economic activity by the end of this year, especially domestic tourism, our economic growth could exceed the 2.2 percent estimated in September. I would like to appeal to every monks and nuns (in every monasteries), compatriots who visit the various places to maintain the “3 Dos and 3 Don’ts” measures to ensure that after our festivities there are no disasters after our happy celebrations.
On the other hand, if we do our best not to spread the disease, even if we are not going to organize the Water Festival, our people will have chances to enjoy more (as) the situation may allow them to travel places during the Water Festival […]. As domestic tourists grow, in addition, we are working on planning to receive safe tourists or fully vaccinated tourists from abroad […]
I call on the authorities everywhere to pay attention to the accumulation of people and try to keep social distance of one family from another and from strangers … Family members living in the same house can stay close together. The key to prevention is to ensure social distance in overcrowding places. We have no way of knowing who got the disease and led to the infection. Wearing a mask in the public places where we are walking is necessary, washing our hands, after holding or touching anything, with alcohol or gel is also necessary.
… This is a huge test between disaster and safety. If we do it right, the disaster will not happen, and it will not fail us from reopening the country … Safety will be possible depending on the individual and each family during this trip. (Should we have) safe post-Pchum Ben days, we would be able to reopen the country in all fields, from restaurants to other service-related businesses allowing our economy to re-open in full, either agriculture, industry or services bringing the country in a new normal way to pre-Covid-19 life. As you know, we have to live in a new way – wearing a mask, washing our hands, keeping distance with one another as required by the health sector.
… I do not dare to go out. I am staying put to monitor this situation everywhere through the provincial and capital authorities as well as the Ministry of Tourism, who regularly report me developments in the fields. I must keep a close eye on it. The anti-Covid-19 Commissions at the national as well as sub-national level are monitoring the situation in their respective provinces. In general, we need to do this work well. Be happy and do not bring misery to yourself and your family through Covid-19 infection. We must enjoy the festivities and our country is still peaceful, giving the Royal Government the opportunity to make a decision to reopen the country that I hope it will improve the lives of our people.
(In other words) the test (we are taking) is not to risk the lives of the people. It is because we trust the participation of the people, combined with the fact that we have vaccinated (enough), we allow our people to travel. We truly believe in the understanding and participation of the people. The authorities everywhere and in all monasteries must take high precautions. People protect themselves, protect their families, and there should not be Covid-19 out-breaking infection after Pchum Ben […]
Thank you to all the monks and nuns, compatriots, who participated in this important Buddhist event that will bring us to a remarkable outcome – either we will face with the pandemic disaster after this festival or we are safe, allowing the opportunity to reopen the country to promote Cambodia’s socio-economic development. Thank you./.