To prevent people in Cambodia, especially to protect the vulnerable group from contracting the new variant, Omicron, the government has further strengthened its National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan with Thailand reporting its first case.
Recognizing the threat Omicron may pose to the people, Ministry of Health spokesman Hok Kim Cheng said yesterday that the ministry has issued an additional set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) so that this new variant does not enter the country and community.
The B.1.1.529 (Omicron) is currently reported in at least 38 countries based on the World Health Organization report.
According to agencies, the Department of Medical Sciences director-general Supakit Sirilak had urged the Thai government not to replace RT-PCR testing with rapid antigen testing as he expected more cases will be detected with more tourists arriving in the country.
“If there is one case, there will be a second and third case,” he was quoted saying.
Kim Cheng said: “It’s important that everyone, including frontline and relevant officials, adhere to the SOP as it’s in the hands of each and everyone to stop the entry of the variant into the country and community.”
As for passengers arriving via entry points, he said a rapid antigen test will be done and they must wait a few hours to get the results before being allowed to enter the Kingdom and while waiting they must strictly follow the 3 dos and 3 don’ts including social distancing.
He said if there are passengers whose results show negative but show Covid-19 symptoms or having flu, they will need to do the polymerase chain reaction or PCR test, especially with Thailand reporting one case.
“Please do not panic as the country is taking all precautions and preventive measures and will keep the Kingdom open to boost the national economy,” he added.
Kim Cheng assured the people that the ministry is taking proactive measures to keep the new variant at bay with the support and cooperation of the relevant officials by strictly following the SOP and guidelines issued by the government and WHO.
Meanwhile, WHO representative to Cambodia Dr Li Ailan urged everyone to be vigilant, be ready, but stay calm and act with the risk-based and scientific approach.
“Risk-based border and travel measures such as PCR testing and quarantine when needed can complement other important response measures such as strengthening surveillance and response system for early detection and rapid response,” she said.
Battambang provincial governor, Sok Lou said yesterday that as one of the provinces bordering Thailand, the authorities will work and monitor closely while working together with the Thailand provincial officials.
“The province used to detect Delta variant among migrant workers that also spread to the community. We will step our efforts to prevent this new variant and not history repeats itself again,” he said.
He said he is looking into the possibility of quarantining migrant workers returning from Thailand or doing the PCR test while getting everyone to be fully vaccinated against the Covid-19.
Oddar Meanchey provincial governor, Pen Kosal said yesterday that he too will get everyone in the province to be fully vaccinated so that those who contract the new variant will only suffer mild symptoms, although as much as possible prevent it from being transmitted in the province.
“I will monitor, instruct, and follow up with authorities and residents closely to make sure that there are no imported cases detected among migrant workers and spread to the community,” he added.
Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Ngoun Mengchroun said yesterday that they will still implement the mandatory quarantine for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people with the new variant detected in Thailand.
“Vaccinated migrant workers will be quarantined for seven days while the unvaccinated will spend 14 days. All have to undergo a rapid antigen test. The quarantine will be initiated after getting the PCR test results and checking with Thai authorities on their vaccination certificate status,” he added.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES