COVID-19: Cambodia takes stringent measures, Philippines gets help in vaccine purchase hinh anh 1A women wearing face mask to avoid COVID-19 infection in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Lockdown measures have been imposed in a number of localities in Cambodia to curb the spread of COVID-19 while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of 400 million USD for the Philippines to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

In Cambodia, the administration of Kep province has announced that people from the cities and provinces linked to the “February 20 Community Event” will be required to test for COVID-19 and stay in quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in this coastal province.

While Kep, the smallest province in Cambodia, has not found any COVID-19 cases related to the February 20 event, Phnom Penh capital and other eight provinces, namely Kandal, Sihanoukville, Prey Veng, Svay Reang, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Battambang, and Siem Reap, have been hit hard by this third wave of coronavirus infections, with many areas already put under lockdown.

Authorities in Prey Veng province have ordered shutdowns of all local schools after 23 new infection cases were reported on March 11 morning, forcing schools to adopt online teaching and learning practices.

In the face of the latest outbreak, the Cambodian Senate at an extraordinary session on March 11 passed a draft law on measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and other dangerous contagious diseases.

Later the same day, Acting Head of State Say Chhum endorsed this law on behalf of King Norodom Sihamoni, who has been in China for a routine medical check-up.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health confirmed 62 new COVID-19 cases on March 12 morning, including 60 linked with the “February 20 Community Event”. The country has seen 1,225 infections so far, including 619 recoveries and one death.

COVID-19: Cambodia takes stringent measures, Philippines gets help in vaccine purchase hinh anh 2A medical worker is vaccinated against COVID-19 in Marikina city of the Philippines (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on March 12 that it has approved a 400-million-USD loan to help the Philippines purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

The bank said this country is the first recipient of financing support under the ADB's Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) initiative worth 9 billion USD. 

The loan will assist the Philippine Department of Health in procuring and ensuring delivery to the country of vaccines certified by the WHO-led COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility and bilateral vaccine suppliers that meet APVAX eligibility criteria.

The ADB said the project, to be supported with 300 million USD in co-financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), will fund the procurement of up to 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Philippines has one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia, with 607,048 confirmed cases as of March 11, including 12,608 deaths.

On March 1, it began vaccinations of frontline healthcare workers using a batch of the Sinovac vaccines donated by China. The country also received last week an additional 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility.

The Philippines is negotiating to buy over 160 million vaccine doses from different pharmaceutical firms this year. Its government aims to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos of the 110 million population this year to achieve herd immunity, starting with health care workers, the elderly, and the poor communities./.