A Call for Solidarity and Urgent Action in Fighting Covid-19
30 March 2020
The world has been shocked by the Coronavirus 2019 [COVID–19] pandemic, with the confirmation globally by the World Health Organization as of 30 March that more than 638,146 people have tested positive for the virus and 30,105 have died as result of contracting it. Cases of COVID-19 in Cambodia have grown from 1 confirmed case in late January to 107confirmed and 23 recoveries as of 30 March 2020.
The Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), the Coalition for Partnership in Democratic Development (CPDD) and our members wish to express our deepest sympathy to families in the world who have lost loved ones. We express our solidarity with survivors and the affected, and offer encouragement to all individuals, communities, civil society, private sector and government authorities at all levels who are struggling day and night to keep the virus at bay through the guidelines of Ministry of Health and WHO and practices of combating COVID-19.
The CCC and CPDD acknowledge efforts made by the Royal Government of Cambodia to combat the spread of COVID 19. The government´s efforts to transform existing facilities into medical facilities to hospitalize those whose health situation may become critical is applauded. The government is also to be commended for taking early action to close schools in order to combat the spread of the virus, as well as issuing statements condemning price gouging of protective material such as face masks and hand sanitizer.
The CCC, CPDD and member organizations encourage civil society organizations, the government, and local authorities to give priority to safety of citizens, especially the elderly, children, and other vulnerable people such as the very poor, disabled, and homeless. In particular, CCC and CPDD urge the national government and sub-national authorities to:
- Declare COVID-19 a national crisis. In the event that the government passes a law to declare a state of emergency, we anticipate that such a law will be limited to the purpose of limiting the spread of Coronavirus and will only touch on issues such as directing national resources to
combating the spread of the virus. We hope that the draft will be shared with stakeholders before it is passed, and we encourage the government to work in inclusive partnership with civil society, the private sector and other actors to implement the law and to combat the spread of the virus, sparing no effort to eradicate the Coronavirus.
- Scale up testing for COVID-19, this could be done by appealing to the governments of South Korea and China for testing kits.
- Engage and inform the public in regular updates on the status of the COVID–19 in the respective communities, and measures being taken to combat it.
- Call for stricter measures such as enforcement of mandatory cancellation or postponement of all large gatherings such as religious ceremonies and weddings, in order to reduce the spread of the virus. all key traditional and religion based gatherings, social events (weddings, festivals, etc.) and other celebrations during this outbreak period. Limiting social gatherings and movement has proven effective in other countries, where the virus appears to be contained.
- Ensure that frontline healthcare workers who are caring for those being treated in public hospital, especially health centers and referral hospitals have sufficient personal protective equipment so that their risk of contracting the virus is reduced.
- Provide educational outreach to all communities, on a nationwide basis by for example using of Facebook messaging, TV spots, mobile community campaigns, so that community members are fully aware of and participating in protecting themselves from COVID-19 infection especially the most vulnerable ones including disabled persons of both gender and ages.
- Provide any necessary support for daily basic foods and medicines to those infected with COVID19, and to their family members, and those being held in quarantine. Also ensure that health care services are continuously provided to those who are infected by TB, HIV, and malaria without any disruptions.
- Provide accessible facilities and support to parents and communities to e-learning/online learning platforms for children and students during the period of school closure.
- Request banks and microfinance institutions to consider supporting their clients who are infected, and directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 by lowering interest rates and delaying collection of principle/interest for certain period of time during and after the crisis period.
- Consider developing an economic stimulus package which would include social assistance in the form of a living allowance to those who have lost their jobs and income as a result of the crisis. This includes but not limited to those working in the tourism industry, factory workers, tuk-tuk drivers and those without direct social protection.
CCC, CPDD and many member organizations have taken a number actions thus far such as allowing staff working from home, installation of sanitization and safety measures at offices, cancelation and postponement of any gatherings, support and join line ministries and local authorities to provide educational campaigns, closely monitoring and prepared for further combating COVID-19 and responding its impacts during and post outbreaks.
CCC, and CPDD looks forward to working with our members and partners, especially National Committee for Combating COVID-19, national and sub-national authorities and other stakeholders in combating COVID 19.
Signed by and on behalf of CCC
Ms Kristen Rasmussen
Chair of CCC Executive Committee
Signed by and on behalf of CPDD
Mr Chea Vantha
Chair of CPDD Board of Director