Government urges public to get booster shots as new Omicron cases are registered
A girl receives a dose of the Sinovac vaccine at a health center in Phnom Penh on Feb. 23. Cambodia won widespread praise for its handling of the crisis through a swift rollout of its vaccination program. (Photo: AFP)
Cambodia has ended a 52-day streak of zero Covid-19 cases with fresh cases of the Omicron variant emerging and the government urging the public to get their third and fourth vaccinations and adhere to preventative health measures.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has also ordered health authorities to closely monitor the latest outbreaks, saying he feared the worst, despite this country winning widespread praise for its handling of the crisis through a swift rollout of its vaccination program.
“Infections have been detected in many places both through PCR and rapid testing. Without serious measures, our country’s situation could take a turn for the worse,” he said. “I appeal to our people to continue implementing health measures that have been put in place.”
He also said new cases were detected among individuals who tested positive while seeking certificates to travel abroad and coming into Cambodia but he added the caseload was much smaller and symptoms less severe than previously experienced.
As of July 1, Cambodia had recorded a total of 136,282 Covid cases with 133,206 recoveries and 3,056 fatalities. No new cases had been registered for the 52 days from May 7 to June 27.
According to the Ministry of Health, 20 cases have been detected since then with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and were confirmed to be the highly contagious Omicron variant.
"People aged above 12 who have been vaccinated with fourth doses will be able to receive a fifth shot from next week"
Cambodia says it has so far vaccinated almost 95 percent of its 16.5 million population with more than 9.4 million people receiving a third dose and more than 2.8 million their fourth jab while another 270,000 people have received their fifth shot.
Or Vandine, health ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, said those who have not been vaccinated or have not received booster shots should come forward immediately.
“The Covid-19 vaccination committee will approve third doses for the age group of 3 to 6-year-olds, while the age group of 6 to 12-year-olds will be able to get fourth doses beginning July 6 as well,” she said in a statement.
She added that people aged above 12 who have been vaccinated with fourth doses will be able to receive a fifth shot from next week.
“If you have a gap of three months or more following your second, third or fourth doses of vaccines, or if you received just one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please go and get your booster shots as soon as possible,” Vandine said.
In a separate statement, Hun Sen warned the public not to “treat the Covid-19 issue as a joke” and that he would crack down on people who use the disease to spread fake news.
“Anyone who uses Covid-19 to destroy public safety will face legal action,” he said.
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