Government to Look Into Buying Covid-19 Vaccines

2 min read
Coronavirus (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

As a worldwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccines nears, Prime Minister Hun Sen said late Monday that he would ask development partners to help Cambodia obtain doses cheaply.

The U.K. is set to administer its first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine as early as Tuesday, while Indonesia, facing an ongoing severe outbreak, received 1.2 million doses of a Chinese vaccine on Sunday.

The U.K. has had over 61,000 deaths and 1.7 million infections of Covid-19, while Indonesia has recorded more than 17,000 deaths and 575,000 cases despite a low level of testing.

Of more than 200 vaccines in development around the world, around a dozen are near their final stages of testing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page on Monday evening that the country’s health minister would speak to the World Health Organization about which vaccine Cambodia should obtain.

“We hope our developing partners will provide us with assistance for our people, or at least sell [vaccines] at a cheap price to us,” Hun Sen said.

He hoped to obtain enough vaccines for 500,000 people in the first stage, targeting people working in highly exposed environments and those who are more vulnerable to the virus. The vaccines would be provided free of charge, he said.

The emergence of a local Covid-19 cluster last week has led to school closures and widespread testing around the country. Some 32 people have tested positive in the cluster, which centers around the country’s prisons director, Chhem Savuth.

Last month, the country faced another Covid-19 scare when a visiting diplomat, who was allowed to flout quarantine requirements, tested positive for the disease just after leaving the country. Hun Sen went into quarantine for two weeks due to contact with the diplomat, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Cambodia has had 348 total recorded cases of Covid-19 this year and no official deaths.

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