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Health ministry calls for vigilance amid Omicron

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AstraZeneca vaccines arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport in November last year. Hong Menea

Health ministry calls for vigilance amid Omicron

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said that while the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant is something people should be aware of, what is most important is to protect themselves from the virus.

According to the ministry, as of January 25 Cambodia had recorded more than 600 Omicron cases, 224 of which were detected in the community.

“The health ministry releases statistics of Omicron cases every day. It’s important to know the number of infections, that is true. But what’s even more necessary is that we continue to maintain preventive health measures in the most serious way to avoid an invasion by this variant,” she said.

She added that in order to prevent the number of people infected with Omicron from increasing further, everyone must join take an active role in protecting themselves from the virus.

“Self-protection is nothing more than practicing the three dos and three don’ts and vaccinations for everyone,” she said.

WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said Omicron is a new mutation that is highly contagious. It can spread through communities very quickly when compared with the Delta variant.

“The severity of this virus is milder than that of the Delta variant. But this variant is still a dangerous virus that can cause serious illness. We are still discovering more about the Omicron variant,” she said.

She added that the virus could not be completely eradicated, but what everyone could do was prevent it from spreading to an uncontrollable level by using existing tools.

“We need to avoid putting a heavy burden on health care systems and hospitals and we must avoid creating two different systems for Omicron and other viruses,” she said, adding that it remained important to make sure that people do not let their guard down and instead maintain vigilance.

“We must not panic, but at the same time we must not neglect health measures,” she said.

Separately, the government is due to receive 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Polish government and its people on January 26.

Cambodia has so far received more than 43 million vaccine doses through purchase, donations, the COVAX Facility, and bilateral agreements.

According to the health ministry, as of January 24 Cambodia had vaccinated 89.62 per cent of its estimated population of 16 million. Of the total, more than six million people have received the third dose, or booster shot, and in the past 11 days more than 340,000 people have received their fourth dose.

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