Cambodia said it will not allow its citizens to undergo trials for any anti-coronavirus vaccine produced by foreign companies and countries, local media reported.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “Cambodia will not use its own people to test a vaccine from any company or any country. This is [my] unwavering position.”

Sen said in a statement on social media that his government has already ordered 1 million doses of potential vaccines from the World Health Organization-led COVAX initiative.

Under the COVAX, 172 economies are working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved.

The COVAX aims to provide vaccines initially for 3%, and then up to 20%, of a country’s population.

The Cambodian prime minister said the vaccine will be given to “the first 500,000 priority recipients in the Kingdom”. However, he added, he does not know “when the vaccine will arrive”.

“But I want to stress that Cambodia will only buy vaccines from countries certified by the WHO,” he insisted.

Urging adherence to anti-coronavirus measures, Sen said his government has “$538 million cash on hand available for fighting COVID-19 and economic recovery”.

Cambodia has reported 362 coronavirus cases since the outbreak. Many of the infections were reported late last month at a community event.

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