Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Ministry of Health to issue guidelines on measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the upcoming Water Festival from October 30 to November 1.
Hun Sen said however that the government has cancelled the traditional Water Festival gatherings in Phnom Penh, while some provinces can organise the festivities as they have always done in the past.
Speaking at the inauguration of the first Entertainment Centre Prince Manor in Cambodia in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on Wednesday, he said the Ok Ambok (pounding of rice) ceremony and the Sampeah Preah Khae (full moon prayers) can still be held at home or in pagodas.
He said preventing Covid-19 from spreading in communities is a priority.
“Covid-19 has not forgotten us and we do not know where it is hiding. In the past, in some countries, many doctors have died from Covid-19 after it was transmitted from patients. We need to take measures to prevent Covid-19 from entering Cambodian communities,” he said.
The prime minister also urged the ministry to examine the feasibility of using and purchasing medical equipment and supplies for the prevention of Covid-19 infection to keep in stock. The ministry should check the quality and dates on items to make sure they are
not spoiled, especially masks and clothing for doctors and healthcare workers.
“We need to look at our inventory strategically. What should be released needs to be released, and what needs to be bought for inventory, including medicines, masks and medical clothing, must be bought,” he said.
In response, health minister Mam Bunheng has issued urgent guidelines on improving home quarantines and quarantines at centres to prevent community transmission of Covid-19.
“Cambodia is still at risk of contracting Covid-19 at all times. In order to contribute to preventing the transmission of Covid-19 virus into the community, strengthening the 14-day quarantine or self-isolation remains one of the most important measures,” he said.
According to the guidelines, anyone who is subject to a 14-day quarantine at home or in a centre is required to strictly adhere to ministry instructions, even if they receive a negative Covid-19 test.
Failure to properly follow the ministry guidelines may result in Covid-19 transmission to the community. People in quarantine or self-isolation are not allowed to move around or come in contact with others, he said.
The health ministry also reiterated its call for the public as well as relevant institutions, sub-national and local authorities to ‘participate in preventing the transmission of Covid-19 virus into the community in Cambodia.’
Sub-national authorities must continue to educate people about preventive measures and the necessity of quarantine and self-isolation, it added.