Active Covid-19 Cases Hit 1,000 as Ministry Reports 179 New Infections

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Near empty streets in Sihanoukville on March 4, 2021 as the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration announced a ban on travel in and out of the province following a rise in Covid-19 cases. (Preah Sihanouk provincial administration’s Facebook page)

The Health Ministry on Saturday reported 179 new Covid-19 cases — the most announced in a single day to date — with the majority found in one commune in Preah Sihanouk, and other cases identified in the capital and four other provinces.

The nation’s active Covid-19 case count has surpassed 1,000 for the first time. The ministry also reported 58 new recoveries in Phnom Penh and Kandal, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk provinces.

A 43-year-old Cambodian woman who tested positive for Covid-19 after her death on Friday afternoon in Preah Sihanouk had died of “heavy bleeding,” the ministry said.

She was hospitalized since March 20, and doctors tried to save her with a blood transfusion due to heavy blood loss, including from her stomach.

“The 43-year-old woman passed away from heavy bleeding, not because of Covid-19,” the ministry said, adding that she had a chronic stomach condition. Her sample for Covid-19 was taken on Wednesday, it said.

On Saturday, Cambodia also sped past the 2,000 total cases mark, reaching 2,147 recorded infections since the start of the global pandemic last year. The number remains relatively small compared to nations with larger populations that have recorded cases in the tens of millions, such as the U.S., Brazil and India. But officials and the World Health Organization have warned of an overwhelmed health care system in Cambodia if the current uptick in cases is not quelled.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 2.7 million lives globally, Cambodia only recorded its first Covid-19 deaths this month amid an ongoing outbreak, including eight deaths attributed to Covid-19, and two other Covid-19 patients said to have died of other causes.

Of the 179 new cases in Cambodia, all but one were linked to the “February 20” community event, including 138 in Sihanoukville’s Buon commune, plus five other cases in the province; 26 in Phnom Penh; four in Kandal; three in Prey Veng; and one each in Kampong Cham and Siem Reap.

One new patient was a Cambodian who entered the country from Japan.

The Health Ministry has recorded 1,132 recoveries from the disease since the start of last year, with 1,005 patients currently infected.

More than 325,000 donated doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, have been distributed, and a 1.5 million-dose supply of a third vaccine, Sinovac, arrived in the country on Friday, which cost Cambodia $15 million.

The ministry noted in a Covid-19 surveillance report dated March 16 that the large spike in cases announced that day — 105 — was “due to delayed test results,” although it was unclear if Saturday’s even larger jump was due to similar testing delays.

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