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WHO official urges unity in Cambodia against COVID-19 as new cases continue to rise

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:39, April 27, 2021

PHNOM PENH, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia said Monday that hope is not lost for Cambodia in the fight against COVID-19 although the figures globally, including Cambodia, paint a grim picture.

Cambodia has seen a sharp increase in cases over the past two weeks, with the number of new cases per day ranging from 157 to 655, the organization said in a statement.

In total, 22 provinces have recorded COVID-19 cases, and the total number of cases now stands at 10,555, with 79 deaths and 6,892 receiving treatment.

"It is never too late to turn the outbreak around-hope is not lost, as long as Cambodia acts as one. One nation and one society-all committed to fighting COVID-19 in solidarity," WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said in the statement.

The global evidence to date shows there are at least three essential elements to address the pandemic effectively: leaders must step up to make decisions and take action, the whole of society must be involved, and citizens need to embrace the combined public health measures.

"When all these elements come together, it can turn the tide and slow infections. We have seen strong leadership in Cambodia already with difficult decisions and actions taken," she said. "But this alone is not enough. It is working together-in solidarity-across the public and private sectors, including the efforts of every individual. That is the key to success in the struggle against COVID-19."

COVID-19 is a health crisis, but also a socio-economic crisis, and the response to COVID-19 must go beyond a health response to protect the economic future of Cambodia, Li said.

"If we do not control this outbreak, there will be disastrous health consequences, followed by devastating economic impacts," she said.

Li added that the current outbreaks in factories and markets serve as a painful reminder of the importance of investing in mitigation measures before cases occur in order to help prevent the virus from spreading.

"The garment industry represents a critical part of the Cambodian economy, and this industry can protect itself and its employees from COVID-19 by urgently and proactively preparing for outbreaks before they occur. Safer factories mean a safer economy," she said.

She added that factory owners and managers can take steps to reduce the risk of infection such as temperature screening, rearranging workstations to allow physical distancing, ensuring adequate handwashing facilities, and having shifts for breaks to avoid crowding.

"Factory owners and managers can play a critical role in responding to outbreaks, to contain them quickly, by conducting contact tracing and helping isolate suspected cases to reduce the spread of the virus," Li said.

She added that factory workers also have a role in reducing the risk of infections by staying home if they are sick and by avoiding crowds, confined spaces and close contacts with other people, whenever possible.

"When each and every part of society-from public to private sectors, and from governments to individuals-works together as one, focusing on controlling the outbreak, the combined impact can be enormous. Everyone, everywhere must play their role. The time to act is today to avoid regrets tomorrow," Li said.

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