I would like to speak to members (of the Council Ministers Meeting today) about the quick test device and use of this device. Initially I wanted to issue a circular. However, later I think it is not necessary because we have a cabinet meeting to which with all the members of the government (are present). I am urging institutions to pay attention to the use of Covid-19 quick test device. We should also think of way of economizing the acquisition and use of the device so that it does not weigh too much on our national budget.
Yesterday, I instructed Lok Chumteav Youk Sambath (of the Ministry of Health) to buy another million (quick test device) with the money contributed by philanthropists. Last night, 1 million sets arrived. In our stock, as of yesterday, there were only 100,000 sets left because we have distributed them to the provinces.
HE Neang Phat, on behalf of the Ministry of National Defence, requested 300,000 (sets of quick test device). As we have already provided 50,000 sets, I decided to give only 200,000 more sets to prepare for distribution to the units. However, I think I will be able to give about 100,000 more as requested because there are many units. HE Mam Bunheng (Minister of Health) should assert it to Lok Chumteav Yok Sambath, though I previously gave only 200,000 sets, but, after I had the report of HE Vong Pisen (of the armed forces) yesterday about discovering Covid-19 infection in military academy institution at Thmaat Pong (I think we will need to answer the request).
We also distribute rapid test devices to provinces. As for the Ministries … if any ministry can supply itself, for instance HE Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport, reported to me that his ministry could supply itself. (Please) buy (quick test device) to supply own ministries and distribute them to their related and branch offices. If ministries can supply their own demands, it will reduce state spending. We are talking about long-term expense here. I do not believe that COVID-19 (will) be over by (end of) 2021 or mid-2022. The COVID-19 situation is grave.
Let us use this quick test device sparingly, though we cannot avoid using it. Even last night, I received a request from Luang Mae (the Queen Mother) on finding way to cut off (transmission of COVID-19 that has now hit staff) in the Royal Palace. Even persons close to Luang Mae have problems. Me too, anyone who comes close to me has to do all the testing. I cannot quarantine myself too many times. I have had three quarantines already so far. In Thailand, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has had only one quarantine. I had been in quarantine three times.
Well, we must carry out quick test to avoid problems for our leaders. It is better still to work separately online. Let me reaffirm that we must prioritize giving this rapid test device to provinces. We already sent them to the provinces. We use them and they seemed to have (run out) fast. After using my 1 million device in stock … last night, we have come to using those purchased by national budget. I ordered the purchase of an additional 1 million (quick test) devices using philanthropist fund. We may have used and had in current stocking, and ordering between four to five million (quick test) devices. Reporters come to cover the news (at my place). They had to take the rapid tests like once in every two days. We used them quite a lot.
Therefore, to recap, each ministry, if it has its own savings, should use its savings to buy (quick test device) and keep it in the ministry for quick testing. When in doubt, we test immediately. However, we need to focus (providing rapid test device) to hospitals in the provinces, military outposts, police and police units.
I would urge HE Mam Bun Heng to inform Lok Chumteav Youk Sambath to provide an additional 100,000 (quick test device) as requested to the army […] in the previous meeting, we already discharged 50,000 (quick test devices) to the army and 50,000 to the Ministry of Interior. Later, seeing HE Neang Phat asked for 300,000 sets of the devices, I decided to give 200,000 sets. However, as the military units scattered far and between each other, I decided again to allow an additional 100,000 sets more making it all 350,000 sets (for the army). The army can in fact request for help from other sources too.
Branch offices can use the savings in the Ministry to buy quick tests devices. Let us not fall too heavily on the national budget. I have already sent to you the report of our revenue in May and June, which are less than US$ 400 million, except in March, when it was as high as US$ 700 million. Other than that, April is even less. (I am sure you understand that) we need to use (resources to fight COVID-19 for) a long term.
That is what I wish to share with you about how to acquire and use rapid test devices and we must be careful not to allow things belonged to the state to leak into the market. It is true that person who might take them would not domicile them as (the rapid test device) is not edible, they take it to scrub the nose (for tests), but it is not right if it slips into the market by any sale.
The second point is to pay more attention to border management issues. According to the report here, on a daily basis now, workers returning from Thailand per day is anywhere more than 100 people crossing the border. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity to conduct thorough quarantines on the Cambodian-Thai border. Explore them and hold them right there. We must do what we can to prevent (the new virus variant) Delta from entering the community. (New virus) Alpha has come in and is infecting today, and it would be disastrous to have the Delta (virus variant) infecting the community.
This time, unlike last time, 1,000 workers returning from Thailand, only 20 to 30 are Covid-19 positive, but now 300 coming back, there are up to almost 100 Covid-19 positive … and they concentrated in Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey provinces. We have discovered that the Delta (virus variant) cases are importing and are not yet a breakout in the community. Therefore, we must make efforts to manage it and cooperate with Thai side on the western border.
Along the Vietnamese border, our observation has been that, according to the report sent to the (social media) group on combating COVID-19 on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, the Vietnamese expatriates are still crossing the border to enter and leave from one side to another. Therefore, I would suggest Samdech Krala Hom (Sar Kheng, DPM and Minister of Interior) instruct the provinces on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. I discussed this issue with the Vietnamese Prime Minister in Jakarta, and the day before, we met by phone on the need to strengthen border control.
When I met with the Vietnamese ambassador on his farewell courtesy call, he also raised the issue. Yesterday, there were 67 Vietnamese living in Cambodia and crossed the border to Vietnam. Vietnam media reported they crossed the border illegally. They said their people crossed the border illegally. Do not forget that they are their people. Our border control department should forbid such crossing since such crossing (to Vietnam) would surely send them back.
We must cooperate. This infectious disease transmitted from person to person. There have been news every day about Vietnamese people going to that side. We do not seem to see it, but that side broadcasts. We see them when they come back. We spend money every day on quarantines. In Vietnam, there seem to be a breakout now. They lockdown Ho Chi Minh City. Yesterday, infected persons in Vietnam increased to more than 1,300 cases […] there is a high infection rate on provinces bordering Cambodia, such as Binh Minh […]
Vietnamese expatriates cross the border up and down […] the other day I talked openly about whichever provinces live Vietnamese immigrants … please suspend their travels. The provinces along the border, if we know (in advance), just do not let them go and if they do go, do not let them return. Once they go (to and are in Vietnam,) it is said that they are Cambodians crossing the border illegally to Vietnam. They quarantine them. If they come back because they live in Cambodia, even though they are not our nationals, they are citizens living in our country. We have to let them in. We have to quarantine them.
The situation around us is just tough. Even Laos, considered less contagious, has dozens of cases. Yesterday, they had like more than 60 cases. Previously, His Excellency Prak Sokhon asked the Laotian side they said their infection rates was in single digit number – 5 or 6 or 7 or 8. Now in these last few days, there were 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 cases, and yesterday there were more than 60 cases. Explosions in Ho Chi Minh City are not different from explosions in Phnom Penh, starting with dozens. Dozens are constantly increasing to hundreds of cases […]
Thus, once there is an outbreak in the Ho Chi Minh City and workers travelled to provinces. There are people in the border provinces who bring along diseases with them, as in the case of Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh distributes the disease to the provinces. We lockdown the city during the New Year. Later, we release them. They bring disease to the provinces./.