Phnom Penh Enters Final Stage of Booster Campaign, Few Restrictions Remain

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(ADB/Creative Commons)

Phnom Penh City Hall extended restrictions on some high-risk businesses, as three remaining districts in the city will begin providing booster shots to residents.

The local government previously started booster shots in 11 districts and close to 100 locations. The three remaining districts — Chroy Changva, Prek Pnov and Daun Penh — will commence their booster-shot campaigns on October 30 at nine locations. The booster campaign came months after the city announced that it has successfully vaccinated close to 100 percent of all residents.

At the same time, City Hall announced that risky businesses like clubs, karaoke bars and discotheques will continue to remain closed till at least November 11. It allowed the reopening of gyms, sports clubs and movie theaters two weeks ago. The popular Water Festival and boat races were canceled earlier this month.

Mao Buntha, Chroy Changva commune chief, said older residents had already been given booster shots and estimates showed that around 13,600 people aged 18 to 59 would need a third dose, though some residents had got their second dose as late as last weekend.

“The vaccination process is good, appropriate and correct according to the time and needs. It is appropriate to the situation and the requests of the people,” he said.

The Education Ministry has said that primary schools, universities and all education institutions will reopen November 1. Secondary schools resumed classes in September.

Most Phnom Penh districts have been using primary schools for the vaccination campaign. Chroy Changva is not using primary schools for administering booster shots and Buntha said they were being sanitized in time for classes on Monday.

Sem Darin, Chroy Changva district’s administrative head, said the booster campaign would last for two weeks till November 12 and was expected to run smoothly.

“Firstly, it is favorable since we have a big place and the doctors have tried their best with cooperation from our authorities,” Darin said of the vaccination campaign since its start.

Chab Dina, Daun Penh district’s administrative chief, said they had initially listed two primary schools — Kolab I and Preah Norodom — as vaccine centers but would change these because of school reopening on November 1. The third vaccine center in the district is the Chaktomuk Referral Hospital.

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He said officials had scheduled residents from the 11 communes so as to prevent overcrowding at centers.

“We divided it into quotas because we can’t let [people] go as they wish. If they go as they want, it will affect social safety,” Dina said.

In the third district to start booster shots, Sak Sitha, deputy governor of Prek Pnov, said only less than 1 percent of people had not been vaccinated because of preexisting health conditions. So far, 7,567 people over the age of 60 and 45,243 people aged 18 to 59 had been fully vaccinated, and estimated that around 11,600 children aged 12 to 17 had also received a vaccine.

To reduce Covid-19 transmissions, around 14,000 civil servants, vendors, business owners and workers had been given third shots already, she said.

“Now, we are fighting with Covid-19, and the vaccination campaign seems to be considered a leading campaign that helps prevent the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sitha.

Nop Vanna, chief of Prampi Makara district’s economic office, said its campaign, which began on October 11, was proceeding smoothly and while it was expected to end on October 24, it had been extended till October 31.

He said, “There are no challenges and [vaccination] has gone smoothly.”

Cambodia on Monday signaled its strongest intentions to restart tourism in the country, announcing a “sand-box” arrangement in Sihanoukville, Koh Rong and Koh Kong’s Dara Sakor tourism area. Other destinations, including Siem Reap, are expected to welcome tourists in the new year.

Residents are expected to carry their vaccine cards and identity documents to get the shots, though some localities are requiring invitation letters issued by commune officials — as was the case during the first dose campaign.

New Phnom Penh vaccination centers from October 30:

Daun PenhChaktomuk Referral Hospital; Kolab 1 Primary School* and Preah Norodom Primary School* likely to be moved
Chroy ChangvaOCIC market/Borey Rung Reung market, Koh Dach Health Center
Prek PnovPrek Pnov Referral Hospital, Samrong Health Center, Ponhea Pon Health Center, Kok Roka Health Center
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