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Cambodia delivers 200,000 Covid vaccines to Vietnam

Hun Sen's government announces financial relief for the tourism and garment sectors

Cambodia delivers 200,000 Covid vaccines to Vietnam

People walk past the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap. Cambodia is set to welcome vaccinated international tourists as the country seeks to recover from the impact of the pandemic. (Photo: AFP)

Published: October 29, 2021 06:42 AM GMT

Updated: October 29, 2021 06:47 AM GMT

The Cambodian government has delivered 200,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine to Vietnam and announced another round of financial relief for the garment and tourism sectors.

The Covid-19 vaccines were handed over to Vietnamese officials at the Bavet-Moc Bai border checkpoint. Hanoi has lagged Cambodia in rolling out its vaccination program with just 23 percent of its population fully vaccinated and 55 percent receiving their first jab.

Daily caseloads in Vietnam have fallen from their peak of more than 14,000 a day in September but numbers remain high with more than 4,000 cases a day still being reported.

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Cambodia, which was swift in securing vaccines from China, has already achieved herd immunity with the daily number of cases falling to about 100.

At the ceremony Or Vandine, secretary of state of the Health Ministry, said Cambodia had also donated Covid-19 vaccines and equipment to Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Laos and Nepal.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced plans to reopen the country through its tourism sector and other industries while urging Cambodians to accept the “new normal” in a bid to kickstart an economy crushed by the pandemic.

Tax exemptions and debt support will also be provided to the aviation sector amid expectations that tourists will soon begin returning to Cambodia 

In a further bid to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, the Council of Ministers — Cambodia’s cabinet — announced a “round-10 effort” of assistance packages for the tourism sector and manufacturers of garment, footwear and travel goods.

“The Royal Government continues measures to mitigate the socioeconomic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and to support businesses to get back on track for the recovery stage,” ministers said in a statement published by the government-friendly Fresh News outlet.

It said the measures include monthly wage subsidies for workers and tax relaxation for registered hotels, guesthouses and tour agencies in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Bavet and Poipet.

Tax exemptions and debt support will also be provided to the aviation sector amid expectations that tourists will soon begin returning to Cambodia following an easing of quarantine and other travel restrictions.

It said the measures would cover the three months from October to December.

“Since the start of October, the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths has dropped remarkably, and the Royal Government has announced the reopening of the country,” it noted.

The government also announced cinemas and museums would be allowed to reopen from Oct. 30 with family numbers restricted to five people. Performances must break every 30 minutes for disinfecting.

“Only 50 percent of the total seating capacity of the museums, cinemas and concert halls shall be made available, and a personal distance of at least 1.5 metres must be maintained,” the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said.

Schools, restaurants and other businesses have gradually reopened, while bars which sell alcohol only and karaoke clubs remain closed.

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