My respect to Samdech Preah Sangha Reach Preah, venerable, and dear compatriots!
Today, I have the honor to inform all venerable, my compatriots, that I have decided to end the (Covid-19 community outbreak) events of February 20, which we started as a tragic event for our country because of Covid-19 transmission, starting from February 20 to December 20 which is equivalent to ten months, and 124,023 people were infected while 3,005 were dead.
Today is the first time in 10 months that the kingdom has recorded no deaths, and the infection rate is only seven. We start with a great tribulation that leaves hundreds of people dead and dozens of deaths each day. We started up with over 1,000 people infected for two days, and then it reduced down to three digits, then to the last two digits, and recently at only one digit.
The death toll has dropped steadily to this day. This reduction is not significant, we are not successful in stopping this disease, but it can also be said that it is a success in preventing us from falling into the abyss of death, which we were apprehensive about during the last traditional new year period. This has led to the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takhmao, and the restriction of travel from one province to another, which caused great difficulties for both the state and our people.
Along with the fight against this disease, we have been trying to find vaccine to vaccinate our people promptly. Vaccines have saved the lives of our people, and I am grateful for all the efforts of civil servants, the armed forces, local authorities at all levels, all institutions, especially health institutions, as well as medical teams which have joined the fight against Covid-19, which our people have nicknamed them the White Coat Army.
I am very proud of all the operating institutions who have joined me in leading the campaign combatting the February 20 event. I would also like to take this opportunity to address our friends, especially the People’s Republic of China, who is the strategic partner for supplying vaccines to us. I would also like to thank the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands for sending the vaccine to Cambodia, and I hope that next Sunday, the Australian’s Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Cambodia on the night of the 26th, and about 2.3 million doses more will come on the 28th.
Community immunity itself reduces the risk of infection and death; because of the effects of this vaccine, we can reduce the number of infections, and if infected it does not lead to seriousness or death. For those who have passed away, I would also like to express my condolences to their families; unfortunately, we have observed that many of the deaths are due to chronic diseases and/or (commonly among) the elderly. Since they were infected by Covid-19, they had passed away.
I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to our people for their support of all the campaigns to prevent the disease, especially the 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts measures, and more importantly, to participate in vaccinations. So far, we have injected more than 14 million people, accounting for almost 89%. This number does not include the number of people who have already been vaccinated in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and some other countries, most of which have already been vaccinated. We reach a high level of immunity in the community for our people support the government vaccination campaign.
Since November 1, we reopened the country. I then thought to announce the end of the event on February 20 community event, but we had to postpone for a while to see how the situation develops after the Water Festival. The case is now clear about the results of the efforts of both the public and private sectors and the individual population in self-defense against Covid-19. Today, I declare the end of the February 20 event, but not necessarily the end of the fight against Covid-19; this task cannot be neglected. Let there be no other events. Let there be a decline in transmission, a decrease in mortality, and a zero-mortality rate, through the efforts of individual people, individual families, and communities to keep implementing health measures.
With efforts of the health authority in vaccination, for those who have not been vaccinated, because during the vaccination campaign, some people were infected with Covid-19, some were pregnant and had to give birth, now we will continue to inject them and continue to vaccinate with the booster dose, or so-called third dose, which so far we have reached 3 million people. However, I observed that the process seems to be slow. We have enough vaccines to inject more than 10 million people, or maybe more than 12 million more when Covax, and when Australia and other foreign friends give the vaccine to us, we can also afford to buy more vaccines before the vaccines production in our country. I urge His Excellency Aun Porn Moniroth, Deputy Permanent Secretary and Chairman of the Standing Committee, and His Excellency Mam Bunheng and his colleagues to consider the possibility of promoting all matters related to the vaccine. At the same time, the Commission for Vaccination, Lok Chumtev, Or Vandine, needs to cooperate with the provinces to continue promoting this third dose according to the schedule, including the boosting dose of the children and young people from January onwards, starting from this January onwards from Phnom Penh, by following the Blossoming Flower approach.
I call on our people to be extra vigilant to protect their lives, their families’ lives and contribute to the protection of the community and the safety in our country, making the socio-economic reopening process go smoothly like a while ago. We should continue to work together for the success of all and the survival of our nation. Let the fight against Covid-19 be the highest priority along with socio-economic rehabilitation in all areas.
This is the stage of learning to live with Covid-19. This stage is even more critical. With the full availability of vaccines and booster doses, coupled with health measures, we are indeed overcoming new mutations such as Omicron that have already arrived in our country. In the future, we do not know what kind of new variants will come, but no matter how deadly the virus is, if we follow all the health measures and with complete vaccination, we can overcome and defend ourselves. May this work continue in the framework of learning to live with Covid-19.
I call on all the venerable and the people all over the country to continue their efforts to move forward vigorously and beat this deadly disease. May all the venerable and our compatriots be happy, prosperous, and free from Covid-19 and other diseases for the sake of our survival and the survival of our nation.