The Ministry of Health has renewed its calls for the public to prevent Covid-19 infections by breaking the cycle of person-to-person transmissions during the annual Water Festival public holiday, even though the government has called off celebrations in Phnom Penh this year to avoid conflicting with the ASEAN Summit and other major events in November, .
In an October 18 notice, health minister Mam Bun Heng urged those who suspect they have been exposed to Covid-19 to take a rapid test and isolate themselves to avoid spreading it to others, as this could cause large-scale community transmission.
“In order to continue the sustainable reopening of the country under the new normal, we must continue to defend ourselves against a large-scale outbreak of Covid-19 in the community, and remember that the virus is not far away from us,” he said.
“We advise the public to continue exercising increased caution and to practise the ‘three dos and three don’ts’ and other important guidelines.”
Bun Heng advised local authorities and all health officials at the sub-national levels to cooperate to effectively manage and monitor the situation.
In addition, the minister advised people to prevent food poisoning by maintaining good personal hygiene, storing raw and cooked food separately and using clean water.
On October 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that all people had joined the fight against the pandemic, so the success could not be regarded purely as an achievement of the government.
Prime Minister Hun Sen first announced the cancellation of the Water Festival at the national level on October 9, but will allow it to take place in individual provinces, depending on their circumstances.
He explained that the cancellation is not due to a lack of financial resources, but is meant to prevent the spread of the virus as Cambodia prepares to host many important events in November.
“If we allow Covid-19 infections to become widespread, we will create a dangerous situation. We did not observe the festival in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic, and we know that the virus is still circulating, albeit in lower numbers,” he said.
Bun Heng warned that some countries in the region including Cambodia’s neighbours are still reporting new infections and deaths on a daily basis.
Citing a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, he said that over 620 million Covid-19 cases had been recorded around the world, with 6,543,138 deaths as of October 14.