Audio Message of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, on Prevention Measures of Covid-19 Pandemic [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

Agree to Revealing Identity of Covid-19 Positive and Those in Quarantines

This is a message to the leaders at all levels, the monks, and dear compatriots!

A moment ago, I agreed to the inter-ministerial proposal led by the Minister of Health on a number of issues. The first is the issue of revealing identities of those tested Covid-19 positive. It is now the time to do it. The November 28 community event has not yet set the light from where the pandemic occurred. Although the technical team has made it clear that it is not relating to the case of November 3, but darkness continues since we have not yet been able to get to the source of it – who was the patient zero and who got it from her/him. Therefore, it is necessary to publish the photo as well as the name, address, personal identity of the person tested positive Covid-19 so that our people know. If anyone has any connection with that name, please show up immediately for samples taking and place oneself in isolation. Otherwise, the situation will be difficult to salvage.

Revealing Individuality Was to Avoid Proliferation of Infection

Today, we found six other people infected in the cluster of those involved and those with ties to Chhem Savuth and his family. Therefore, in order to avoid spreading, the fastest option is when someone is Covid-19 positive we must share his/her personal identifiable information to the public. Some people may raise privacy issues here. I can confirm that the event on November 3, we also spread the word about those who are relevant and positive and those who need to be in quarantine, including myself, and my wife. Now, we have already shared information with the public on those who have been involved in the event and needed to be in quarantines, including the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, his family, and other members of the National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister Samdech Krala Hom, His Excellency Aun Porn Moniroth, and some other ministers.

Ministry of Health to Reveal List of Covid-19 Positive Persons

For those who are positive, even if we do not share, the media has already run their stories. It is better for the Ministry of Health to reveal the list directly to professionally responsible press with wider information accessibility to others for their verification. In case of contact with those infected with Covid-19, both old and new, it is necessary to show up for sampling and placing in quarantines to avoid further transmission to family and friends. Now is the time to seek the right to life, not the right to be secretive about the public health of society as a whole. I hope this interpretation is reasonable for our people, especially those with Covid-19 needed to be tolerant of this problem.

Technicians/Business People from Abroad to Quarantine 14 Days

Secondly, previously, we did the right thing to oblige a 14 days quarantine for foreigners – technicians and business people, but later, in order to accelerate the survival of the economy, we let them wait only two days after the test proved negative and allow them go to work with a guarantee from the concerned ministry and companies. This involves the socio-economic (activities) need. However, in a situation that we have not yet found where the head or tail is, we have to suspend the mechanism temporarily – changing the 14 days quarantine to only two days – for the technicians and businesspersons coming to inspect the factory for a short time. This is a high risk for our country. If we continue to leave it that way. I have agreed to suspend the process of short-term quarantines […] but we have to allow a seven-day notice, starting from December 5 tomorrow, so that companies have enough time to notify their employees. (The seven day notice is to) avoid acting immediately leading to difficulties for those passengers and let them make a clear decision before arrival that they will face a 14 days quarantine.

Verifying If Inadequate Quarantines Caused Community Contagion

We need to make some economic sacrifices for the survival of our citizens. The health of our citizens is more important. Therefore, I would like to ask for understanding from companies that have businesses in Cambodia or Cambodian companies that need outside technicians to go through short-term quarantines and leave (for works). Such a situation would put Cambodia at a higher risk of infecting the community, as we were not sure if they were infected after a negative test […]. The situation on November 28, which is a community transmission situation, as predicted by technicians as well as myself, can be caused by inadequate quarantines of foreigners, who could have been in contacts with Mr. Chhem Savuth and family. This is being verified.

Covid-19 Positives Information Explore and Eradicate Community Outbreaks

I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the more than 20 people with the Covid-19 positive cases to be honest and provide true answers. It is the most important time to clarify. We cannot leave it to you whether to answer or not to answer is up to you. It is a disaster for public health, ourselves, our families, and for other people. I appeal to these people to understand and give a clear answer as to who they met in the past, what they did and where they went. This is an important beacon for exploring and eradicating community outbreaks. So far, for the so-called November 28 community event, we do not want to mention Chhem Savuth and his family, but this event still runs around only the cluster of Chhem Savuth’s family and those involved. It has not spread to other clusters yet. If we are negligent and do not have a clear answer from those who are Covid-19 positive, it is clear that the disease will spread and continue to be unidentifiable.

Though No deaths Yet, If Outbreak Continues, Infected Number to Rise

Therefore, I urge you to provide frank answers so that we can identify from whom this infection is coming – to whom and from whom, for both those in the country and those abroad. Our country does not have this disease. It has always been imported cases, and for the past imported cases, we always have them under control because we have been able to conduct proper testing and treatment, and our quarantine period has been up to 14 days. We notice however after we relaxed (the quarantine period for) technician, the business owners, the company owners to just two days, the transmission has created a disease in the community, which is a very sad problem. Although no deaths reported, if community outbreak keeps spreading, the number of infected continues to rise.

I still insist that, firstly, the identification of infected people made public so that people can understand who is affected and who have traveled to their places of caution. Combined with the definitive answers of those who are positive of Covid-19, it will provide timely clues to detect and prevent further spread […]

Competent Authorities Apply Strict Rules at Quarantine Centers

In addition to these, […] we must dare to sacrifice some economic gains to save the lives and health of our people. Our people and economists as well as companies will understand, hopefully, the difficulties of the nation as a whole. I would like to ask the Ministry of Health to make sure on these measures and instructions. As for the quarantines, I would like to request the National Police Force to look into the practice of mass quarantine places to allow no entry and exit in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Health. Be thorough. In addition, I have already released the budget to the provinces. In case the poor in both urban and rural areas have to go quarantines, a sum of 20,000 Riels per family/per day must be provided. In Phnom Penh, for example, a tricycle rider, a motorcycle taxi driver, or a poor family, a small shopkeeper, a construction worker, s/he could not go out to work, but s/he had to stay in quarantines. Provide them with food, with a further assistance of 20,000 Riels so that s/he can feed her/his family. In rural areas, 20,000 riels per family must be given so that they can save their livelihood when they cannot do business. The important issue now is to look at the informal economy, both in agriculture and in the informal sector, so that they can benefit in this time of difficulties.

November-28 Outbreak Has Not Decreased

I am calling for joint actions to prevent the transmission that since starting on November 28 has not yet subsided. The number of infected people has increased. Even in one shop, there are six people found infected today, plus one yesterday, already seven people. We do not know, where else the infection would be. Even if we are in control, if there is further spread without restraint, we must be ready with measures to deal with it. The National Police must be strict in their duty guarding the quarantine places. Local authorities have to look after the people who quarantine at home and provide the poor families who lack access to food, and a sum of 20,000 Riel per day for 15 days, though the number of quarantine days are only 14. We give her/him money for 15 days, equal to 300,000 riel, to give them the ability to buy food to eat while in quarantines […] and focus on those in the informal economy.

Armed Forces Make Sure There Is No Gathering of Troops

For all types of armed forces, including the army, police, and the military, must pay attention to ensure that there will be no troop mobilization, and if there is a problem, the army must resolve it on its own. I know that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has already chaired this planning meeting, including the presence of the Commanders of the military police. So let’s all pay attention to the civilians, the people, the monks, the armed forces as a whole to take protective measures to avoid spread of this epidemic in our country. I hope that we will overcome this obstacle and that we will continue to work together to comprehensively address this issue. Thank you.