PM Hun Sen calls on citizens to use Cambodian way of greeting instead of handshake to prevent Covid-19 spread
Khmer Times Thu, March 5, 2020
PHNOM PENH – Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on Cambodians to sampeah instead of shake hands to prevent the spreading of Covid-19.
He spoke at the annual congress of Health Ministry, held Wednesday at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel.
“We use this way of greeting, the sampeah, as our customary practice; Khmer do not shake hands. Only after the 1970s,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen.
While performing the sampeah, the person places their palms together in a prayer-like fashion while bowing slightly. The word “Chum Reap Sour” is often spoken with the sampeah gesture when greeting somebody.
Analysts are however concerned that the Ministry of Health is being over confident and is actually complacent in monitoring the spread of COVID-19, from testing patients, to keeping proper records as well as screening passengers at airports.
“Instead of having a thermal scanner which is hidden somewhere like a cctv camera and the monitoring station placed in a room, this surveillance must be done openly so that when passengers get off an aircraft and head to the immigration, they are screened and any anomalies picked up straight away, like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
There is no such thing in practice in Cambodia although the ministry has claimed that they have deployed sufficient people for surveillance of airports and land /water crossings to detect and quarantine suspected patients and undertake blood test immediately,” the officials, who declined to be identified but who have close working knowledge of the MoH said.
Meanwhile, the WHO is warning of a global medical equipment shortage and estimates that about 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles will be required globally for health care workers to respond to the outbreak.
At a news briefing Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that each month, the organization estimates that about 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles will be required globally for health care workers to respond to the outbreak.
The virus has infected more than 92,800 people and killed at least 3,200 since it was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year. It has now spread to more than 75 countries and territories, with self-sustaining clusters forming in South Korea, Japan, parts of Europe, Iran and the United States. Fresh News/Khmer Times
From: KHMER TIMES, CAMBODIA March 5, 2020