628 Contacts of Hungarian Official Test Negative for Covid-19: Ministry

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (center) meets with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and others on November 3, 2020, in this photograph posted to the Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page.

Health authorities said on Thursday that 628 people had been tested for Covid-19 after coming in contact with a visiting Hungarian official who tested positive for the virus after leaving the country this week.

As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, the samples for all 628 people came back negative according to testing by the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry received information on Wednesday about the Hungarian official, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto, testing positive following an official visit the day before, and conducted an immediate contact-tracing investigation, it said.

Szijjarto signed three agreements during his visit on Tuesday, and was photographed shaking hands with the ministers of agriculture, water resources and civil aviation, and posed for pictures with several other officials without wearing masks.

He was to continue his diplomatic tour in Thailand, but tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in the neighboring country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who presided over the signing ceremony, said last night that he, his wife and his staff had tested negative for Covid-19, and would stay in quarantine for two weeks.

The Health Ministry will continue to investigate and inform the public of the results of subsequent tests, it said in its statement.

“The Ministry of Health would like to provide a reminder and another appeal for all people to please continue to strictly implement self-protective measures by wearing masks (when necessary), especially when traveling and meeting many people; using handkerchiefs or scarves to cover mouths when coughing or sneezing; washing hands daily; maintaining social distancing, and a distance of 1.5 meters between individuals to avoid the possibility of Covid-19 transmission at all times, all circumstances and all places,” it said.

The ministry also announced three Covid-19 recoveries, a 33-year-old Cambodian man, 47-year-old Polish man, and 37-year-old French man.

The country has had 292 positive tests for Covid-19 since January, with six currently active cases.

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