Cambodian Scholars Appeal to Public to Calm Down and Apply Preventive Measures

AKP Phnom Penh, March 18, 2020 —

COVID-19 detected cases in Cambodia saw a sharp increase this week, anyway Cambodian scholars have called on the public to remain calm and apply preventive measures as recommended by the Ministry of Health.

The only way to overcome this crisis is to work together, Dr. Chheang Vannarith, President of the Asian Vision Institute (AVI) shared his comments to AKP this morning.

“We need to prove the strength of humanity and the power of love. No one should be left behind in this fight against COVID-19. We need to take care of those who are infected or vulnerable to be infected. We need to ensure the safety and a sense of security for all,” he said.

“We need to support and motivate our medical staff who work round the clock to save people’s life. We need to protect ourselves and our community from being exposed to the virus. We should stay united and act calmly, such as avoiding buying panic,” he underlined.

According to Dr. Chheang Vannarith, COVID-19 pandemic is testing the leadership and institutional capacity of the Cambodian government as well as the social capital and resilience of Cambodian people. The legitimacy of the government is at stake too.

As of this morning, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the Kingdom rose to 35, of which 21 new cases were detected on Mar. 17 alone, and almost all the cases are imported ones.

“It needs to be cautious that although the community transmission has not yet serious in the country, according to what we have known, there is an increasing risk of having a spike of the number of infections in coming days or weeks. When the community transmission starts, it is more difficult to control and manage,” Dr. Chheang Vannarith added.

Dr. Chheang Vannarith, President of the Asian Vision Institute (AVI)

Since early this week, the Royal Government has taken some concrete steps to contain and mitigate COVID-19 pandemic in the country such as forming an inter-ministerial committee to specifically deal with the disease and imposing travel restrictions and quarantine policy. Other measures include closing the schools, suspending religious gathering and the operations of dancing club, KTV and cinema, and boosting public awareness campaign on social distancing and maintaining personal and community hygiene.

For his part, H.E. Ek Tha, Spokesperson for the Office of the Council of Ministers said the Royal Government of Cambodia has understood about the risk of the spread of COVID-19, prompted the government to take preventive measures for the well-being of the government officials and the public as a whole. With such instructions by the government, he continued, we can see that the public delivery [service] is still there.

“Although, the virus has ‘high infectivity but low mortality’ rate ranging between 2 to 3 percent, compared with SARS in 2003, 10 percent, and MERS in 2012, 35 percent. But, prevention is better than cure in general,” he stressed.

To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, H.E. Ek Tha encouraged the public to stay healthy and monitor their own health.

H.E. Ek Tha, Spokesperson for the Office of the Council of Ministers

“For me, I do not order people to do anything, but stay hydrated and get adequate rest. Washing hands frequently can reduce the spread of the virus. Please visit your doctor and take medicine as advised by the doctor, if you are sick,” he said.

According to World Health Organisation, 159 countries and territories around the world have been hit by COVID-19 with a total of 184,976 confirmed cases and 7,529 deaths.

By Khan Sophirom