Health authorities in Phnom Penh report daily cases have fallen to zero for five days in a row
A girl receives a dose of the Sinovac vaccine at a health center in Phnom Penh on Feb. 23 as Cambodia lowered the age for children able to receive vaccinations to three years old. (Photo: AFP)
Cambodia and Vietnam will reopen their land borders, which have been closed for more than two years, after health authorities in Phnom Penh reported that the number of daily Covid-19 cases had fallen to zero for five days in a row.
The decision was made between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh, who also agreed to reopen air tourism. Both are attending an ASEAN summit in the United States.
“Cambodia ranks at the top for having the lowest Covid-19 cases in the ASEAN region. There is no death confirmed for a month now,” Hun Sen said during a meeting with Cambodians living in the United States and Canada. He did not give a date for the border reopening.
The announcement was also made as Cambodia’s health ministry reported no new cases of Covid-19 for the fifth day in a row. To date, the country has confirmed 136,262 cases with 133,186 recoveries and 3,056 deaths. However, Vietnam is reporting around 3,000 cases per day.
Cambodia says it has vaccinated nearly 93 percent of its 16.5 million population. Almost 9 million people have received a third dose and more than 2 million their fourth shot.
“Today [May 12] is the fifth day that Cambodia has achieved zero Covid-19 confirmed cases,” Hun Sen said, adding a fifth jab was now under consideration because of the virus’s ability to mutate.
Cambodia was quick off the mark in closing its borders and in rolling out its vaccination program once the pandemic erupted in early 2020
“The vaccination campaign in Cambodia is considered to be most successful. There is no political discrimination, racism, nor religious segregation. In Cambodia, people receive equal opportunities to be vaccinated,” he said.
He also said children as young as two could soon be inoculated after the vaccination program was extended to children aged 3-5 in February and an additional 4 million students have also received their first shots.
“I am considering inoculating the two-year-old kids as they too need to build their immunity and be protected so that when the virus gets them it will lead to a mild case and not be severe,” Hun Sen said.
Cambodia was quick off the mark in closing its borders and in rolling out its vaccination program once the pandemic erupted in early 2020.
Last month Cambodia lifted its mask mandate introduced more than a year earlier to curb the spread of the pandemic as part of gradual reopening of the country, which began in November, and to bolster the economy, particularly the tourism industry.
Cambodia has also stockpiled 20 million Covid-19 vaccines. Most were sourced from China while the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands and Hungary have also made significant contributions.
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