Health Ministry Warns COVID-19 Come Back

People wait for their turns to receive the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation site in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Phearum/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH – The public should remain protective of themselves by following the sanitary measures and be cautious of the XBB 1.5 Omicron Variant because COVID-19 is clearly not over yet, said Or Vandine, secretary of State and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health on May 27.

She raised the concern, particularly with a reference to a Thailand-based hospital announcing on May 27 that the beds for COVID-19 patients were fully occupied.

“I would like to remind all Cambodian people that as long as the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our neighboring countries and in the world shows that COVID-19 is not over yet,” the spokesperson said in a notice letter.

Nevertheless, Vandine reminded everyone to remain careful to prevent another spike in contaminations, even though the COVID-19 situation has been under control in the country for prolonged months.

On May 28, Health Ministry reported only four positive cases, which could be considered a really small number, considering that Cambodia had just hosted the 32nd Southeast Asian Games and saw many international visitors coming, athletes, assistants or tourists.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen lifted COVID-19 measures in crowded places – which included wearing masks and taking a PCR test – because no surge in contamination had been observed following the New Year’s celebrations despite the many huge public gatherings in most of Cambodia’s main cities.

More than 13 million people gathered at tourist sites across the country to celebrate.

However, Hun Sen added that people still can choose to wear a mask or get tested if they want to, and reminded them to still be careful. 

 “We don’t know when there will be another new COVID variant and it will evolve over time by transforming with another virus to create another variant which can be more infectious and dangerous,” Vandine said, adding that everyone must continue protecting themselves and always be prepared beforehand for the possibility of a new pandemic.

The reminder can also be considered a safety message for the public to remain careful while Cambodia is getting ready to host the 12th ASEAN Para Games, which will kick start on June 3.

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