PHNOM PENH, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that Cambodia is at a critical point in the fight against COVID-19, calling on everyone to do what they can to fight against the disease.
The Southeast Asian country has been enduring the third community COVID-19 outbreak since Feb. 20, with at least 1,062 people infected and two deaths so far.
The recent COVID-19 outbreaks are most likely caused by the new B.1.1.7 variant, which transmits more quickly than the previously circulating virus, the WHO said in a joint statement with the Ministry of Health.
It added that seeking appropriate care in a timely manner can reduce the risk of dying due to COVID-19.
"The tragic deaths due to COVID-19 are a reminder to us all of the seriousness of this disease. It can affect anyone at any time," Li Ailan, WHO representative to Cambodia, said.
"The country is at a critical stage of fighting against COVID-19, but we have a window of opportunity to stop virus spread if we all act together with solidarity," she added.
While vaccines will help to reduce hospitalizations and severe disease, vaccines alone will not end the pandemic and they will not end the current outbreak, she said.
"Only the combined efforts of all people will be able to stop the outbreaks," she said. "I know that fighting this pandemic is tiring, but we must come together in solidarity to defeat this virus."
Effective implementation of and full compliance with strong, targeted public health interventions would prevent the devastating health, social and economic effects of COVID-19, the statement said.
"The current COVID-19 situation in Cambodia remains serious. What we do right now will determine the course of this outbreak," Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said.
"We must all accelerate our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks," he added.
Large scale transmission could require large scale restrictions and lockdowns, and it would highly likely cause hospitals and health facilities to become overwhelmed, making it difficult for people with COVID-19 and other health conditions to receive care and save lives.
"The situation is alarming. Everyone must take precautions to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 and cut off the chain of transmission as soon as we can," Ministry of Health secretary of state Or Vandine said.
She called on people to wear a mask properly, wash hands frequently with alcohol gel or soap, and maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other.
Vandine also urged people to reduce or stop unnecessary travel and movement from capital Phnom Penh to provinces and vice versa.
"Staying home is the best choice for now during this time of active virus circulation in order to stop the spread of the virus," she said.
According to the Ministry of Health, since the start of the pandemic in January last year, the kingdom has recorded a total of 1,578 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with two deaths and 917 recoveries. Enditem