Andreas Zurbrugg, Chargé d’Affaires of the Australian Embassy in Cambodia
Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today, I am very pleased to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and express my gratitude to the people and Government of Australia for providing the people and the Government of Cambodia with 2,350,530 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, of which 783,000 doses arrived in Cambodia today and 1,567,530 doses will arrive in Cambodia on December 28, 2021. This precious gift is a wonderful gesture from the people and Government of Australia to the people and Government of Cambodia, as well as to humanity as a whole, in the fight against Covid-19, especially in areas where Cambodia is trying to assimilate and live a new normal way of life in the context of Covid-19 disease.
Since the outbreak and spread of Covid-19, the Royal Government of Cambodia has clearly understood and identified vaccines are the key strategic weapon for controlling and overcoming this deadly disease. The Royal Government has mobilized the national force to find vaccines from every sources and launched the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign for people from the age of five and the national Covid-19 booster doses vaccination campaign nationwide. As of December 26, 2021, more than 90 percent of Cambodia’s 16 million people have had their jabs. With this remarkable achievement, Cambodia has been able to control the spread of Covid-19 and reopened the country’s full socio-economic activities from November 1, 2021 with vigilance and high responsibility.
For the time to come, despite the global concern about the Covid-19 virus variant Omicron, Cambodia will continue its normal socio-economic activities without fear but with high vigilance. The Royal Government will promote the national Covid-19 booster doses vaccination campaign, which will play an important role in building a strong public health barrier. At the same time, to be ready to leave the crisis of Covid-19 with strength and resilience, the Royal Government will promote the implementation of living in a new normal way strategy in the context of Covid-19, and the strategy and programs to restore and boost Cambodia’s economic growth in living with Covid-19 in the new normal path for 2021-2023. Recently launched, the strategy and programs are to push Cambodia back on the path of sustainable, resilient and inclusive growth and development.
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Be careful, Not to Panic, Prevent Community Transmission of Omicron
Let me take this opportunity to tell the people that today there are up to 15 new cases … all of them imported and are Omicron positive. A few days ago, we had three, four or five cases of infection, and most of them imported cases. We have almost no infections in the community. Unfortunately, this disease (caused by Omicron) has spread to our country and it has added up to 31 cases now. In particular, today there are up to 15 cases. Of the 31 cases, three cases have cured. I would like to take this opportunity to warn our people to take precaution, but not to panic. We need to work together to prevent the spread of this virus into the community. The virus is already present in many countries around the world. It is not as deadly as the Delta. They can still be treated. In our country right now the transmission came through the airports in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We are managing this situation to prevent it from leaking into the community. Compatriots, please be careful about the transmission of this Omicron variant into the community, the rate of its transmission is fast compared to Delta and Alpha.
Student with Covid-19 Positive Take Exams at Hospital
Today I am addressing the case where a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports had previously confirmed that students positive with Covid-19 were not to take the exams. I have asked for corrections and we will allow them to take exams. Previously (they were to take exams) at Bak Touk High school, so I asked (those of the students to take exams at that exam center of) Bak Touk High School not to panic. We do not keep students who had gone for sports competitions with the proper assignment from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and contracted with the disease to pass the exams at the Bak Touk exam center. We arrange for them to take exams at the hospital, with our doctors and professors coming in for the examination. I would share this information with our people. The recurrence of infections, from four and five cases to 15 cases, to announce tomorrow, are all imported cases and are under control. I hope Omicron will not spill into communities like Delta and Alpha.
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The success of the fight against Covid-19 in Cambodia could not have been achieved without the support of the Cambodian people, friendly countries and development partners. I would like to express my deep gratitude for the humanitarian assistance, both financial and technical, of the people and the Government of Australia in the past for their active contribution to the development of the health sector and, in particular, the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia. I thank for the generous donation of vaccines at this time that we will use in the national Covid-19 booster doses vaccination campaign for the Cambodian people. Taking this opportunity, I would request the Australian Government to continue to provide additional support to Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19, in building health security capacity to strengthen the public health system and community participation in providing health care services, as well as the restoration and promotion of Cambodia’s sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth.
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Australian Aid Vaccine as Booster Dose
The Acting Chargé d’Affaires stated that during my meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the end of this year, 1 million doses of vaccine would arrive (as donation). However, it turned out that we are receiving up to 2.3 million doses, one part of which came today and (the remaining part will) come the day after tomorrow, the 28th (December). I am affirming that we will use this vaccine for booster doses. We are administering a fourth dose for the front liners … especially those working in health sector since they are exposing to high risks. For the general population, we will use it as their third doses.
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Finally, I would like to call on all Cambodians not to be intimidated but to adhere to health measures, especially to continue to implement the “three preventive and three things to avoid” measures with vigilance and high responsibility. I wish Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen success in all tasks and experience prosperity, prosperity and prosperity forever./.