In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made the following comments:
Before I finish this speech, let me take this opportunity to say a little more. Today I want to speak again after my voicemail yesterday to my Cambodian compatriots. The key thing here is I would like to appeal to my compatriots as well as all the forces involved in the vaccination process to ensure that the Cambodian people can get at least a third dose. This is considered an obligation. We still have about 6 million people who have not had their third dose yet, while more than 1 million have had their fourth dose. Now what we wanted is for our compatriots to be liberated as soon as possible with some health care obligations. Previously, we have removed masks from four provinces, leaving it to the people to decide for themselves whether or not to wear masks. Now I have instructed (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance), HE Aun Porn Moniroth, and Minister of Health, HE Mam Bun Heng, to lead the meeting. I also talked a little earlier with HE Mam Bun Heng. Last night I talked to Lok Chumteav Youk Sambath (that) I wanted to remove the duty to wear a mask in public squares, but to wear one in places of closure.
At this point, we have seen that during the Khmer New Year, very few in the sea of people wore masks during the holiday. Last night, there were two places in Takeo and Kampong Cham where people went to concert and only about one or two in 1,000 wore masks and there was no safe distance among them too. We must not only look at health issues, we must also look at socio-economic issues. Wearing a mask is a huge expense for our people. Sometimes, people do not dare to buy clothes for my children, and save the money to buy masks because wearing a mask is mandatory. Think of this, should we spend only 100,000 US dollars a day, we would have spent three million US dollars a month in the whole country.
Therefore, I would call on health professionals to see not only one side of health issues, but also to see socio-economic and psychological issues. Wearing a mask is not an easy thing, and especially when people have had to have ones on while working tiringly. Some countries have already lifted the obligation to wear masks. We can too. But I have to wait for recommendation from this evening’s meeting led by HE Aun Porn Moniroth with HE Mam Bun Heng […] as to what we should do (about) adding more geography (to wearing no mask in public place).
Adding geography (to the previous four provinces wearing no mask in public place) is my idea, but I have to listen to more inputs that will come out of this important meeting this evening. What I want to say is that people in every provinces/geographical location will decide whether or not to wear a mask while outdoors, in public places, such as public roads or in public places. When indoor, such as in a government building, at work, in a company with air conditioning, it should be a requirement to wear a mask.
What the Royal Government wants is to boost the vaccination, the third dose and the fourth dose, especially the third dose as an obligatory issue, the result of which, to get to that point, our school children can reduce wearing masks in school, but they continue to keep their distance and hand washing is ongoing […] by doing so, we will save the expenses of each family as well as in our society […]
If we can remove this point (of wearing mask a mandatory), we can always go back to wearing masks, if infection cases occur. We can do that because people heed the call of the Royal Government. I want to send this message to our people who have not received the third dose to come to a place where vaccinations are available. Even if your residence is in Stung Treng, for instance, you don’t have to be in Stung Treng (for vaccination). Get one in Phnom Penh wherever there is a vaccination place. Our physicians are everywhere. Someone will give you the jab […]
This is what I wanted to add as a message to the Cambodian people (regarding our efforts) to attain herd immunity. Cambodia has had more than 93% of the population vaccinated, and today the number of infections, counted yesterday and announced today, is only 12 cases in the whole country. We do not know yet if there is death or not. However, the infection rate since before the Khmer New Year has fallen to two digits and under 20 cases. After the Khmer New Year celebration, the infection has stayed under 20 cases […] I think we can do it with careful monitoring and elimination the obligation to wear masks, but we will leave it up to the Cambodian people to decide whether or not to wear masks.
[…] I am calling for a meeting to examine this issue, and I would like to point out that please do not think only of health issues, but also of the social, economic and psychological issues of our people in relation to masks use. Attached masks to the body is not easy anywhere. The mask has become a bothersome. To be honest, selling make-up/lipsticks is in bad business because no one would want to wear make-up/lipsticks hidden and cleared away by wearing masks. At this point, I would like to appeal to people who have not yet received the third dose to come for injection. Everywhere, we must focus on to the remaining 6.6 million people, out of 14.8 million needed ones, since so far, only 8.2 million people got their third dose […]
Hopefully, our people will understand the true aspiration of Prime Minister Hun Sen (as to) why (he) pushes for injection. Brothers and sisters may have thought that two doses were enough since they do not see further infection and there are no deaths. You are wrong. If we have not secured sufficient community immunity, we are still at risk. More than eight million people have already passed the third dose vaccination, but the remaining six million, who have not yet received their third dose are still at high risk […] and if we lift mask wearing obligation, you are more at risk of infection, and your infection will spread to others. In countryside, people do not have masks on, judging by the actual situation and through the past Khmer New Year celebration.
Hope you understand my wish. Today our friend Italy sent us more than one million doses to help us push for more results over what we have achieved in the past, and we will have a series of vaccines donation coming. As far as I can tell, we have more than 20 million doses of promised vaccines to come, while we have more than 11 million doses left in our warehouse. As 6.6 million people more needed to have their third booster doses, we also push for people (who already had their third dose) to get the fourth dose. I urge the military, civilian and volunteer medical teams to focus on the goal […]
Finally, I would like to thank the Ambassador for his remarks and congratulations to Cambodia for chairing the Asia-Europe Meeting in November 2021. This year, as the chair of ASEAN, I will continue to work to strengthen the relationship between ASEAN and the EU, Cambodia with Italy, and ASEAN with Italy. I wish Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen, and all the people success, happiness and prosperity to all of you./.