Sat, 27 Nov 2021

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- A flight carrying a new batch of 2 million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia on Tuesday, giving another boost to the kingdom's inoculation drive, a senior health official said.

The jabs were purchased from the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, said Ministry of Health (MoH) Secretary of State Yok Sambath.

China is the major vaccine supplier to Cambodia, she said, adding that to date, the kingdom has received a total of 27 million vaccine doses from friendly countries and the World Health Organization's COVAX Facility, of which 24.3 million doses are from China.

The Southeast Asian nation began a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in February, targeting to inoculate 12 million people, or 75 percent of its 16-million population by the end of this year.

As of Aug. 30, some 10.69 million people, or 66.8 percent of the total population, have received at least one vaccine dose, while 8.45 million of them have received both required shots, the MoH said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said in an audio message on Tuesday that the kingdom has seen a dramatic drop in new cases and deaths in capital Phnom Penh and its adjacent Kandal province, where herd immunity has been achieved.

He advised Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron to consider reopening schools in non-infectious locations, especially in rural areas.

"As most of COVID-19 infections have been found in urban and populated areas, while very few cases have been detected in rural areas, so I suggest that Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron discuss with municipal and provincial governors to reopen schools in the areas where there are no infections," Hun Sen said.

Cambodia has closed down schools since February after the third wave of COVID-19 community transmission broke out.

The country confirmed 439 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the national total caseload to 93,055, the MoH said, adding that 1,916 of the total cases were the Delta variant.

Eleven more fatalities had been reported, bringing the death toll to 1,903, the ministry said, adding that another 343 patients had recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 88,786.

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