PHNOM PENH, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Monday that the kingdom will provide COVID-19 vaccines free-of-charge to its citizens when the vaccines are available.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Hun Sen said he had advised Health Minister Mam Bunheng to consult with development partners, particularly with the World Health Organization, to select a producing country where the kingdom should purchase the vaccines from.
Also, he had told Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth to prepare a budget to buy 1 million doses of the vaccines in the first phase to provide to people at a high risk of getting infections.
Hun Sen said 1 million doses can be injected into 500,000 persons because a person is required to inject twice.
"The vaccines will be provided to our people free-of-charge in the first phase," the prime minister said, adding that in the second phase, the kingdom will purchase about 2 to 3 million doses.
"Because our country has a budget shortage... we hope that our development partners will provide financial aid or sell the vaccines to us in a reasonably cheap price," he said.
Cambodia has been sparing no effort to contain the first-ever community transmission of COVID-19 in the country, which was detected on Nov. 28 on six members of a family living in Phnom Penh and northwest Siem Reap province.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Monday that at least 32 Phnom Penh dwellers have been tested positive for the virus so far.
To stem the virus, the kingdom has closed down schools, museums, cinemas, and arts performing venues nationwide and banned mass gatherings and weddings in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province.
Since January to date, the Southeast Asian nation has reported a total of 348 confirmed cases, with no deaths and 306 recoveries, the health ministry said. Enditem