May 18, 2022

Khmer New Year Op-Ed

I wish all Cambodian a safe, healthy and happy Khmer New Year!

This New Year is particularly special after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. We here at WHO are excited to celebrate this with you and fully understand how important it is to again be united with loved ones on such an important occasion.

We should be united, and we should enjoy the important Khmer New Year while being mindful of COVID-19 safe practices to protect those we love. When joining with family and friends, let’s all remember those of us who are most vulnerable: the elderly, those with chronic diseases, health workers and pregnant women. We all have these vulnerable groups in our families and communities, and it is up to us to protect them. Khmer New Year is a time to show our respect for our elders, and protecting older family members against COVID-19 is part of our respectful duty and culture.

After more than two years of this pandemic, we all know how to keep each other safe. Your great efforts in getting fully vaccinated and applying the 3Dos and 3Don’ts of Cambodia COVID-19 measures paid off and that is the major reason why we are able to celebrate the Khmer New Year this year. Of course, the pandemic is not over and the virus is still circulating globally including in Cambodia. We need to continue to remain vigilant and prevent a possible surge after the New Year, thus contributing to sustained management of COVID-19 and a successful reopening in Cambodia.

First, let’s make sure all eligible people are fully vaccinated according to the Royal Government of Cambodia’s schedule, including booster doses. Cambodia’s achievements in COVID-19 vaccination are truly remarkable and highly commendable. Having a booster dose now is especially timely and vital for senior members of the family and those with underlying health conditions. Having all the eligible family members fully vaccinated will lessen the risk of celebrating together. Receiving your booster doses is necessary to enhance your immunity needed to protect against severe disease and hospitalisation.

Second, let’s all think about the best places and a safer way to celebrate the New Year. Outdoors with fresh air, or spaces with good ventilation are better, safer choices for our families and friends. Opening windows can improve ventilation. If you have a fan, place it next to an open window to help bring fresh air from outdoors into the room. Think too about where the most vulnerable should sit: can they be placed next to a window? Can we physically distance around the table? Please ask anyone who feels sick to stay home.

Third, let’s think about and make your right choices in protecting yourself, family and community. The pandemic is not over. Applying public health and social measures remains important, especially in areas with the Omicron transmission. Of course, we cannot eat and drink with our masks on. And feasting with family is a very important part of celebrating together. So let’s try to eat outside, or in well ventilated rooms and make sure we maintain physical distance as much as possible.

Khmer New Year is a very important celebration, and I am very excited to stay in this wonderful country for this special Khmer New Year 2022. Let’s show our love and respect for our family by making sure we are protecting them against COVID-19 while enjoying the well-deserved holidays. The virus is still circulating in our community and will take any opportunity to spread further if we ignore it. Let’s do everything we can to celebrate the Khmer New Year in a safer way, while still enjoying ourselves with the ones we love most.

To all Cambodians, I wish you a very safe, healthy and happy Khmer New Year.

Sour Sdey Chhnam Thmey!

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press