Covid surges as Cambodia counts cost of pandemic

Coronavirus impact takes a toll on the state budget and international relations.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is continuing to surge in Cambodia with cases reaching their highest levels in four months, punishing government coffers and curtailing the latest ASEAN foreign ministers’ retreat.

Vongsey Vissoth, secretary of state for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said the government spent more than US$2.127 billion, or about 60 percent of Cambodia’s state savings of $3.5 billion, over the 2020-22 period to manage the impact of the pandemic.

“The budget for 2022 has been increased, and we will have to spend more, although resources will be more limited as the ASEAN chairmanship could cost the kingdom $40-50 million and commune elections will set us back $70 million more,” he said.

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