The coronavirus crisis has severely affected livelihoods, local industries and the economy in general. Nevertheless, compared to North America and Europe – Southeast Asia does not seem to have been hit as hard by the pandemic in terms of total deaths and confirmed cases. To date, cases across ASEAN member states are inching towards the 200,000 mark with over 4,500 fatalities. Indonesia and the Philippines are some of the worst affected countries in the region, but Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei seem to have managed to control their respective outbreaks.
According to the Global Health Security Index 2019 report, ASEAN member state Cambodia is ranked 89th out of 195 countries in preparedness for an infectious disease outbreak. To date, the kingdom has reported 141 COVID-19 cases with zero fatalities. Nevertheless, observers fear that the coronavirus is spreading undetected in the country – perhaps due to the lack of testing capacity to detect the deadly virus.
But media reports have pointed out that Cambodia’s initial response strategy in tackling its COVID-19 outbreak by implementing aggressive contact tracing, temporarily suspending foreign visas, imposing travel restrictions and cancelling the Khmer New Year celebrations, all seem to have been somewhat effective.