PHNOM PENH, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday donated additional 600,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to Cambodia, giving the Southeast Asian country another boost to its immunization program.
The new donation included 500,000 doses from China's Ministry of National Defense to Cambodia's Ministry of National Defense and 100,000 doses from the Red Cross Society of China to the Cambodian Red Cross.
Speaking at handover ceremonies held at the Phnom Penh International Airport upon the vaccine arrivals, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian congratulated Cambodia on inching closer to achieving herd immunity against the COVID-19.
"As iron friends and a community of shared future, China regards the challenges and difficulties faced by Cambodia as its own challenges and difficulties," he said. "As long as the COVID-19 is not over, China's aid for Cambodia's fight against the pandemic will not end."
Wang said China will continue to uphold the concept of building a global community of health for all and will continue to do its best to help developing countries cope with the pandemic.
The ambassador said that China resolutely opposes the politicization of COVID-19 origins-tracing, saying that the virus origins-tracing is a serious scientific issue, not a political one.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh expressed his heartfelt thanks to China for donating the new batch of the vaccine, saying that it was another testament to the ironclad friendship between the two countries.
"China is the leading country in providing vaccines to Cambodia in terms of both humanitarian donations and direct orders," he said at the event. "The vaccine is essential for Cambodia to protect its people's lives from COVID-19 and its variants."
Cambodian Red Cross President Bun Rany said the donation truly reflected close friendship between the two countries, especially between the two red crosses.
"This humanitarian assistance is very valuable and shows China's kindness and mutual support during this difficult time," she said, adding that the donated vaccines would be delivered to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to support the government's vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, Rany also praised China for playing a leading role in providing vaccines and medical equipment to help other countries fight against the pandemic.
Cambodia launched a COVID-19 inoculation drive in February, targeting to vaccinate 12 million people, or 75 percent of the kingdom's 16-million population by the end of this year.
As of Aug. 22, some 9.71 million people, or 60.73 percent of the total population, have received at least one vaccine dose, while 7.87 million of them have received both required shots, the MoH said.
The kingdom on Monday reported 410 new COVID-19 cases, raising the national total caseload to 89,641, the MoH said, adding that 16 more fatalities had been confirmed, bringing the overall death toll to 1,808.
Another 537 patients had recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 85,618, the MoH added. Enditem