Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Gathering of Medical Volunteers to Fight Against Covid-19 [Unofficial Translation]


Sacrifices Reflect Future Commitments to Serve People

I am so happy today to meet with our medical volunteers who have determined to fight against Covid-19. I would also take this opportune moment to send a message to our people in the whole country […] (Covid-19) is an invisible enemy. We do not know where they are. They are invisible. Your determination and courage is invaluable. I wish to take this moment to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to you personally but also to your parents/families for granting their permissions for you to take up this solemn duty. It has clearly reflected your commitments to the future to serve our people truly […]

We have recruited for the first batch only 422 volunteers. I am sure there will be more. However, because of demand of time, we cannot wait but get the first batch of volunteers going […] let me explain why we need a team of volunteers while we already have over 20,000 medical professionals/staff already. Among them, about 2,000 have been working in contagious diseases departments and we have dispatched them everywhere in the country. They worked not only with Covid-19 but also with other infectious diseases such as bird flu, etc. […] in addition to these we will have helps from medical commissions of the ministry of national defense and the ministry of interior’s national police. Recruiting volunteers was a preparation in advance and for them to get themselves ready […]

Making 3,000 Rooms Available

We have now made available over 3,000 rooms – be they from hotels, hostels, and school buildings, in the whole country for (the fight against Covid-19). Most of them are hostels, newly built for teachers, since they have required infrastructures such as electricity and running water […] in Phnom Penh, we have this Great Duke hotel, the Khmer-Soviet hospital, the Chak Angrar hospital, and the Military hospital of Preah Keto Mialia […]

As of this moment, Cambodia has had 93 cases of (Covid-19) infection. According to the data collated by the Ministry of Health, we have had 91 cases. However, the governor of Preah Sihanouk province informed me of another two French tourists infected there. There are now 36 infected cases in Preah Sihanouk, where one of them recovered, one sent to Phnom Penh, and 34 receive treatments in quarantine at the Independent Hotel […]

Five Leakages in the Fight against Covid-19

We have come through two stages already in this fight. The first stage was to prevent disease from importing to Cambodia. We are doing this job at every exit/entries points – land, water and air. We have been successful for two months […] it was quite unfortunate that a Japanese citizen traveling from Japan to Vietnam, to Siem Reap, to the Philippine, to Thailand, and back to Siem Reap, to Vietnam, found to be infected while he was back in Japan. That incident led to a Cambodian man infected in Siem Reap […]

A small cruise ship came from Ho Chi Minh City arrived in Phnom Penh and went up to Kompong Cham province. The case had brought about suspicion on Vietnam side that Cambodia was a source of transmitted disease, while the two Britons were on a plane to Hanoi and took the cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodia […]

Thirdly, the husband and the four-month old baby of a French couple traveling via Singapore tested positive of Covid-19. It has now transmitted to the mother as well. A Canadian director of a school and a Belgian colleague also tested positive […]

Fourthly, Cambodians returning from a religious ceremony in Malaysia […] 79 in all, 23 of them have come with Covid-19. One of them also transmitted to his wife in Battambang province […], and

Fifthly, we have this group of 34 French tourists in the province of Preah Sihanouk. It is our major concern here. In addition to these, some 15,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand showed up at the borders. This has brought our situation to a point that we must act […]

Foreign Nationals Infected Receive Treatments Free of Charges

That has been the situation of our work to protect the country firstly from imported cases. We have also refrained from issuing visas to six countries – US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Iran […] those 34 French tourists arrived before we set out the guideline. They could not go back. France is closed. Let me declare that whoever infected in our country, we will spend for their treatments […] Cambodia is doing a bit different from Vietnam. Though poor, it would provide treatments free of charges. It is our policy. It is also our obligation as host. They could not go back and it would not be viable for everyone to get their treatment costs covered […]

Unexpected Letter from Ted Yoho

I could not have imagined that a member of the house of the representatives of the US, Ted Yoho, who designed a law to punish Cambodia, wrote me a letter directly thanking me for helping American citizens – more than 600 of them stranded in Westerdam cruise ship. That is a virtue of a politician. S/he may do so. They would not behave as Brad Adams (of the Asian division of Human Rights Watch) […] President Trump also wrote a letter. He also wrote on Twitter his feeling and thanked Cambodia […]

Evacuate No Cambodian Students

On another front, we are not going to move our students out of China, Korea, ASEAN, and countries where there have been (Covid-19) outbreak, including the US and European countries. We made correct decision not to evacuate students in China, we are going to do the same […] please contact students I heard are preparing to come over from America. They should stay there with them. Do not run away from the Americans, the Chinese, the French […]. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs work on evacuating no students to Cambodia […]

Monitor Cambodian Workers Returned from Thailand

Another urgent task is to follow up workers coming back from Thailand. The provincial authority must get to them at their homes. I saw that they used every means – including mobile speakers, to get messages over to them. We must ensure that people coming back from Thailand are not fearful of being in isolation. They may stay in isolation at home. They should stay away from their families’ members as well. If they have symptoms, we would put them in quarantine in our designated places […]

Go to No Meetings Abroad, Cancel International Meetings in Cambodia

We also will cancel sending our officials to meetings abroad and cancel every international meetings convened in Cambodia. They have sought to reschedule the Olympic event (in Japan) to be held in August. Even if Japan decided to go ahead according to plan, countries will not send their sportsmen/women to the event. ASEAN also postpone its summit. We are also looking at the possibilities of rescheduling our hosting of the Asia-Europe Meeting from 2020 to 2021, for instance […]

Work with Thailand for Safe and Health-Monitoring Return of Workers

We must continue to cooperate with Thailand for our workers to return home safely and in an orderly manner that we can monitor their health. Authorities along the border must take up responsibilities. Those who have already entered the country we are seeking for them to their homes. For those who have yet to come, I have delegated tasks to Samdech Krola Haom Sar Kheng (of interior) to command provincial authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to work with Thailand, the Ministry of Labor to work with our workers and the Ministry of Health to monitor their health […]

Closely Monitor at Airports, Quarantine and Treatment as Needed

We will work to prevent importation of infection cases. For airports where there are still flights schedules we must closely monitor and impose strict requirement for health certification on whatever flight they may take. We now have only flights from China, Korea and Japan […] and Qatar. Those found with suspicious symptoms must go into designated places. We take up responsibility. We cannot ask them to return. We have an airport at Siem Reap and in Preah Sihanouk provinces. We need not proclaim border closures with anyone. Countries have done it themselves […]

Eventually, we are seeking to reach out to those workers who have entered the country and have not yet monitored their health to keep them in a quarantine. We must look for anyone in contacts with infected persons and place them in quarantine for fourteen days waiting for their tests results. We have two designated areas – one for putting people with suspicious symptoms in isolation and another for treatment. If they are tested negative, they can go home. The good point in our country is our people are conscientious to do this […]

Stay Home; Religions and Media Help Educate

People must stay home. They must not go out unless it is necessary […] it is true that some have to go do some urgent/important works. This should firstly keep the virus away from their homes and families, and, secondly, they would have saved gas of their car and motorcycles. We must take a break until things clam down. For forthcoming ceremonies where people celebrate their offerings for ancestors, people may do that from their hearts at home. Some may choose to do at their ancestors’ places and I would not deny that completely.

Village/commune authorities must seek every means, including mobile speakers to inform our people at homes and in public places. Some factories have provided workers with education VDO clips and voice messages of the Ministry of Health […] religious persons of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity must take parts in this education effort. It is a good thing that we have today Islam medical staff with us. We do not have division among religions. There is no religious discrimination […]

We have 30 medical staff from Islam community in this operation. It would be easy for them to communicate with the Cambodian Muslims when it comes to taking their medical samples. They have same faith and observe similar practices. The media also must help disseminate information and in a frequent manner. The Ministry of Health must produce VDO and/or audio spots and the media help deliver to a wider audience […]

No Plan to Close Markets, Restaurants, Café, and Factories

The Royal Government already introduced an early school holiday and we are not sure yet if we can reopen school day after the Khmer New Year. We allowed no more KTV, Clubs, movies, museums, concerts in public place. However, the Royal Government has no plan to close markets, restaurants, cafés, and especially factories. The Royal Government will celebrate the Khmer New Year but allow no large concentration of people. It is best for our people to enjoy Khmer New Year only among their families’ members at homes. Restaurants, however, must heed precautionary hygienic measures […] we allow concert but there must be no spectators. Let us have no big crowd of people. We can broadcast live and people will continue to enjoy them. We also have a break for boxing games but they continue to have live boxing on TV. People can still enjoy it from homes. We do not organize Sangkranta at national, provincial and even district levels but we will have the Khmer New Year […]

No Superstition Does Away Covid-19

I also call on our people to observe no superstition to chase away Covid-19. A message sent to me. I turned it on and I saw people putting up fire to chase, according to what they said, Covid-19. This is dry season. It is not a good thing to do. It is so flammable to houses […] please do not believe that superstition can deal with Covid-19. In the US, they ordered arrest of some who proclaimed and sold medicines to cure Covid-19. I must have your attention that no one has yet found medicine for Covid-19 […]

Contemplating Legal Basis for Actions on Price Increases

The working group of the Cambodian People’s Party – including those from the National Assembly, the Senate, and the Royal Government, to help local authorities should consider purchasing masks and Kroma (traditional Cambodian scarf) for our people. However, because of hoarding, I am sure it will be difficult to purchase them. I am calling for a legal review to see if I could order for confiscation of masks as they continue to sell them at high price. We may opt to close those stores down and do not allow them to run the business […]

Contemplating Legal Base to Invoke Article 22 of the Constitution

I am contemplating legal base for use of article 22 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia which allowed (the Prime Minister) to request HM the King to place the country under emergency. I do not wish to use this option but if my appeal does not meet with effective response, (I have no other choice) but to invoke this article. Article 22 – New (as amended March 1999): when the nation faces danger, the king shall make a proclamation to the people putting the country in a state of emergency after agreement with the Prime Minister, the president of the National Assembly and the president of the Senate […]

We, however, have not had a separate law that specify legal coverage of this article […] I have asked for a thorough legal study as to what could be covered under that article about emergency. We never thought that we might put our country under any emergency. To do so would reduce civil rights. Countries have already implemented measures using their military and police forces because their people are not abiding by the rules. Analysts should not interpret the move that “I am seeking way to suppress anyone” […] no matter what you may say, I have right to protect people from the virus threats […] I have lawyers to look into this issue and if things turned to a certain development, (I) must place our country under emergency […]

One Step Ahead Management

As for preparing human capability to deal with the threat, we have here medical professionals/staffs from the Ministry of Health, those from the military health commission, those from the police health commission and our volunteers […] we may recruit more in the time to come. It will depend on the fact if we are going to need them or not in face of disease situation in the country. We will adjust our management as we go and take a step ahead. Prime Minister in this case oversees the development and operation not only with the Minister of Health but also directly down to provincial governors. For instance, in just one day, we could mobilize over 3,000 rooms […] our country is poor and our health system may be weak but our thinking ability is not necessarily so […]

Go to People in Need of Helps

Taking this opportune moment, I appeal to our people to take good care of their parents, older people crippled with chronic diseases and without someone to depend on. I am instructing officials of the Cambodian People’s Party to go meet people at local level to provide those in need with rice since they cannot go anywhere. Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance and leader of the Kandal province working team will conduct this task. They must go to people with Kroma, rice, canned fish. They do not convene people into one place. They go to them at their houses. There may be 20% of them in a village for instance who are in need of assistance […]

Thank Everyone for Assistances

As for the international cooperation front, we have had so far many partners. As worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and many others. China has now also come with their helps. The medical supplies of over four tons was just a preliminary delivery and more will come as required, said China. These Chinese health specialists were ones that combated with the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. China has a successful experiment. HE Ieng Mouly said that we could ask for financial assistance from “universal fund” […] USAID just offered 2 million USD (for this effort against Covid-19). We thank everyone for the assistances. I hope we will have more assistances such as from the World Bank and others. Japan has also provided us one part already. We are working with every countries and soliciting cooperation with neighboring countries and countries in ASEAN in information sharing and cooperation […]

Parents to Help Teach Children; No Private Classes Allowed

I am calling on parents to save their times and help their kids with their studies. Someone sent me a voice mail about attempts to provide private courses. I forwarded the voice to Minister Hang Chuon Naron. How could they do so when we are closing down schools? We are asking parents to help their children and to do learning online. If they are going to organize private courses, why should we close schools? […] they are people in the group calling themselves “independent teachers” […] it is because there was such countering move to our order that I am calling on review of legal basis to invoke the article 22 of the Constitution […]

At present, in this circumstance, even if the opposition does not like Cambodian physicians they have no way of seeking medical help from others in Thailand, Vietnam or Singapore. They have to live with Cambodian medical assistance […] whether love or hate, they have had to seek medical help from Cambodian medical professionals […] I am so grateful to our medical teams and authorities of every levels for taking parts in this very demanding time. The two Buddhist sects have already called on their practitioners to follow the guidelines (set out by the Ministry of Health to combat with Covid-19). It would be even better if Oknha Soh Kimri of the Cambodian Muslims and the Christian leaders do the same to their followers […] to exercise proper hygiene and sanitation as instructed […]./.