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WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

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WHO representative Li Ailan during a press conference at the health ministry in February. Heng Chivoan

WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”.

In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that the government has successfully rebooted their approach with an evidence-based and more focused strategy to suppress transmission, minimize social disruptions and protect lives.

“Although the data indicate an improving situation, the risk of a surge in Covid-19 cases is very high,” it said.

The WHO noted that the transmission had been reduced thanks to the effective implementation by the government of protective measures and a vaccines campaign that was widely embraced by most of the public.

But the organization warned that after 20 months of the pandemic people everywhere were struggling to comply with continued movement and social restrictions and have grown weary of them after pinning their hopes on vaccines to restore things back to normality.

“The success of the vaccines in preventing severe disease could mean that transmission continues undetected.

“These factors tend to lead people to drop their guard and return to the old ways of interacting with one another, ways through which a very transmissible variant can wreak havoc,” it said.

They said that community engagement and emphasizing every individual’s responsibility to make the right choices for preventing the spread of virus in their household and community should be key aspects of the next messaging campaign.

The WHO recommended measures to be taken to suppress transmission including pausing 3Cs settings with the three C’s being closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact.

They said the government should continue to remind people about the 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts and make plans for the implementation of a “circuit breaker” policy that can rapidly institute stronger measures like movement restrictions in the event of crisis.

They recommended the government go about safely reopening any low-risk businesses that remain shuttered while preparing higher risk businesses for operation by implementing risk mitigation measures.

Limiting non-essential travel and gatherings and making monitoring and compliance systems fully functional are also considered high priority.

“Our society’s collective safety is based on individual actions. Only then can we curb the spread of COVID-19 and look forward to a brighter future. This adjusted strategy and other measures, with individual and collective actions, will help give Cambodia new hope and the best chance of winning this fight against Covid-19.

“As we implement the response strategy and measures, we must continue to strengthen the health-system response to detect and responds to outbreaks,” it said.

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