Op-ed: “The war against Covid-19 is worse than a border war”, says PM Hun Sen
AKP Phnom Penh, November 30, 2020 -- The Prime Minister firmly hit the nail on the head when he spoke about the Covid-19 crisis and there no doubt about it. It is nearly a year since the Covid-19 outbreak began in early 2020, yet still the war against the virus remains a global challenge and there is no answer as to when this deadly virus will disappear.
Cambodia, like the rest of the world, keeps up the fight by whatever means they have. Covid-19 has changed the way we live and work, express our culture and traditions, affected the economy and trade, with tourism, and aviation industries especially hard hit.
Cambodia has enjoyed peace and stability since late 1998, but today the Prime Minister announced a war against Covid-19 because the virus has not gone anyway and continues to trouble the people and society again and again. again
After nearly 11 months infections eased, now the virus is back, even more shocking since it emerged not from the outside but from within the community. This silent enemy lived within humans for days before it was detected when a 56-year-old lady tested positive on Nov. 28, 2020 in Phnom Penh.
The Premier keeps sending messages, through electronic communication, to the public that the country is facing greater challenges in the fight against the Covid-19. Now there are 323 cases, including more than 300 recovered, in this Southeast Asian nation although no reports of deaths. The country’s population is more than 16.8 million.
Within just two days of the community outbreak on Nov. 28, there are 14 people tested positive. The Ministry of Health has sent its experts to work round o’clock rushing to collect specimens from more than 3,000 people live in Phnom Penh and three other provinces.
This does not mean those people will be tested positive, but prevention is better than cure. We need to be pro-active by applying the recommended health care safety measures, such as testing, quarantine, treatment, social distancing and other precautions.
That is why the Premier called on those, who had either direct or indirect contact with the patients, to be brave enough to come forward for testing. We can’t wait until the virus spreads on a larger scale in the community.
“It is a big test for Cambodia,” PM Hun Sen said.
“We must do a large scale operation fast action to fight the Covid-19,” he said, showing his strong commitment, along with the support from stakeholders.
“This trend is worse than a border war,” the Prime Minister told the crowd attending the ground breaking ceremony for road construction and river bank rehabilitation in Siem Reap, the home of the famed Angkor complex built in the 12th century and listed as the World Heritage Site in 1992.
Previous cases of the disease in Cambodia came from outside the country, but this time it has emerged from within the local community. Everyone hates Coronavirus, but the virus loves us all. For Cambodia, we do not have any magic weapons to prevent the virus, but masks keeping hands clean, and social distancing. It is yet known when any vaccine against Coronavirus will land in Cambodia. So, we must do what we can to contain the virus.
As the Premier says, the only way to defeat Covid-19 is to fear the virus but not panic and that will inspire us to find means to fight it. Thus, complying with the health instructions, quarantine, tests for the virus, using mask and social distancing are the best approaches we have.
“We need to comply with 14-day quarantine by the Health Ministry, rather than not,” said the Premier, who himself wore mask and gloves as he opened the ground-breaking ceremony in Siem Reap, just hours after the health experts took more than 2,000 specimens to test for Coronavirus/ COVID-19.
The Premier even sent his helicopter pilot team for tests and made sure the four choppers got disinfection services. “This is a very serious problem for Cambodia.”
This is what we mean by globalisation. People eat the same food, use the same technologies, and even share the same virus.
As of Nov. 30, 2020, global Covid-19 cases recorded more than 62.5 million, including the deaths of more than 1.4 million, recovered more than 43 million, and some 17.9 million still hospitalised.
The current trend prompted the government to close schools and temporarily ban public gatherings of 20 or more people for two weeks to avoid possible spread of the virus. While another 1,000 cases or so are being conducted in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang and others.
“We still do not know where the virus has emerged,” he told the crowd in Siem Reap on Monday.
More than 3,000 specimens have been taken of which more than 2,247 went through the laboratory and 14 tested positive.
“Such an event requires us to take urgent and large-scale operations,” said the Premier.
Such services are free of charge. The government arranged 500 rooms at the five-star hotel as accommodations for quarantine of people related to the Nov. 28 outbreak.
Cambodia is tired of war from its past for 30 years started in late 1960s till 1998. Another death is too much for us. May the spirits of all Khmer’s ancestors help us to overcome this hardship.
“May all spirits of Angkor, Kulen Mountain, and other sacred sites help us,” said the Premier as he ended his impromptu speech.
Right now, we need all the help we can get.
By Ek Tha,
Standing-Vice Chairman of the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit,
Spokesman of the Council of Ministers, Advisor to the Ministry of Information