Modest Triumph

Members of a family wear face masks, as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, as they ride their motorcycle along a street in Phnom Penh on April 28, 2020. TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP
  • Cambodianess
  • May 25, 2020 9:59 AM

COVID-19 forces humility on one. Of course, the last patient affected by the disease being discharged from hospital earlier this month was publicly acknowledged as it should be, and the health authorities were happy at the time that the country  had not registered any death linked to the coronavirus and had managed to contain all potential sources of contamination.     

However while congratulating themselves, and rightly so, for those remarkable results,  these same health authorities immediately reminded people that the danger had not been removed and that the pandemic remains quite active in numerous countries, and asked the population to maintain hygiene measures and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

Let’s salute this responsible approach. 

Nevertheless it is clear that, as one can see, life is resuming in the streets and that, for many people in Phnom Penh, the worst is over. 

However, since identified cases in Cambodia were imported, the progressive reopening of the air routes and borders will reactivate the threat. 

This is proven by the fact that a new coronavirus case was detected: a young Cambodian who returned on May 20 from the Philippines. 

However, the country has no choice but to confront this prudent reopening. If the coronavirus came from outside the country, it is because Cambodia’s economy is dependent on opening up to the world.   

For example, tourists must return. Therefore one must take the risk of reopening borders. 

If Cambodia has been—all things considered in view of its size—one of the countries where the pandemic has been the best managed, it remains, like every country in the world, in a danger zone and a lack of vigilance at the borders could spark a health conflagration so far contained.

In the battle against this pandemic, it is not yet the time to distinguish between good and bad students. As the World Health Organization has stressed, it will continue to be the time to learn to live with COVID-19 and this, as long as treatments and vaccines are not available.  

At the end of this first round, the coronavirus remains the game master. 



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