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Cambodia’s Covid-free streak ends as community transmission returns

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Children get vaccinated against Covid-19 at the capital’s Chroy Changvar district. Hong Menea

Cambodia’s Covid-free streak ends as community transmission returns

Cambodia's 52-day streak of zero Covid-19 cases has ended, with new infections detected, prompting the government to renew its call for the public to implement preventive health measures to prevent a large-scale outbreak.

In an urgent audio address to the nation late on June 28, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia is experiencing a recurrence of the disease with 10 cases recorded on a single day – two were imported and eight detected in the community.

According to the Ministry of Health, the 10 cases were detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and confirmed to be the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The premier noted that the new cases were detected among individuals who tested positive while seeking certificates for travelling abroad and inbound travellers.

He said he had also received information that in some places rapid testing was also detecting new cases and it therefore can be assumed that Covid-19 is circulating in the country again, though in smaller numbers of people and with less serious symptoms.

The prime minister called on everyone to remain vigilant in protecting their personal health and that of their families and communities by practising precautionary measures.

He also ordered health and relevant authorities to closely monitor the situation.

“I appeal to our people to continue implementing health measures that have been put in place such as the three dos and three don’ts. Infections have been detected in many places both through PCR and rapid testing. Without serious measures, our country’s situation could take a turn for the worse,” he said.

As of June 29, Cambodia had recorded a total of 136,272 Covid-19 cases with 133,206 recoveries and 3,056 fatalities.

No new cases had been registered for the 52 days from May 7 to June 27.

Hun Sen urged people to get booster jabs on time in accordance with the arrangements for the Covid-19 vaccination programme throughout the country.

Or Vandine, health ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, reminded the public about the importance of Covid-19 vaccinations as vaccines are still essential tools to increase people’s immunity to prevent the spread of the virus and to reduce the seriousness of symptoms and number of deaths among those who do get infected.

She said those who have not been vaccinated or have not received booster shots should come forward and receive them immediately at one of the state or referral hospitals and health centres throughout the country, many of which are still performing vaccinations daily.

“The Covid-19 vaccination committee will approve third doses for the age group of 3 to 6-year-olds, while the age group of 6 to 12-year-olds will be able to get fourth doses beginning July 6 as well,” Vandine was quoted as saying in a press release on June 28.

She added that for those who are above age 12 who have been vaccinated with fourth doses, a fifth shot will be available from July 4.

The third, fourth and fifth doses for national officials will be administered at six state hospital: Calmette, Ang Duong, National Pediatric Hospital, National Maternal and Child Health Centre, Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital.

The vaccination sites for sub-national government officials and the general public will be organised at hospitals, health centers and mobile locations in the capital and 24 provinces.

“If you have a gap of three months or more following your second, third or fourth doses of vaccines, or if you received just one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please go and get your booster shots as soon as possible,” Vandine said.

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