Updated: ‘It’s Too Soon,’ Daughter Laments After Second Covid-19 Death

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People walk in and out of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh on March 19, 2020. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

UPDATED — Cambodia reported its second death from Covid-19 on Friday, eight days after its first official death was announced on March 11 and about a month into the largest community outbreak the country has seen.

Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine confirmed the death on Friday, saying a woman had “died of Covid.”

“But for details wait a moment. I will issue a press release,” she said.

Singer Hour Lavy, the husband of the deceased woman, Nuon Sophany, said his wife, in her 60s, had died at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital just before midday Friday.

Lavy said Sophany had several pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes for about 10 years as well as high blood pressure and problems with her heart.

The woman is the fourth Covid-19 positive patient to have died in a quarantine or health facility in Cambodia, and the second to have died from coronavirus, according to the ministry.

Lavy said his daughter, singer Vy Dyneth, was the first in the family to contract Covid-19, and then his wife tested positive on March 10. He himself had tested negative for Covid-19 twice, he added.

Sophany initially received treatment at the capital’s National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, but had been transferred to the Khmer-Soviet hospital in recent days when her condition deteriorated, he said.

“When she was staying at the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, I called by phone and [we] talked with each other, and she said she was OK and the doctor treated her very well. But not even a few days later [she was] taken to the Soviet hospital and in three days it turned out like this,” Lavy said.

A doctor notified him of the death at around 11:45 a.m., he said.

“She got infected because she was weak,” he said. “She had chronic illnesses, diabetes for about 10 years and regularly took medicines.”

“I feel a lot of regret, and every time I open my eyes I see my wife in front of me,” Lavy said.

Dyneth, the deceased’s daughter, posted on Facebook that “it’s too soon for mom.”

“When mom got sick, her daughter couldn’t look at you. When mom passed away, I cannot see her body and cannot go out and hold a funeral for mom. Please, may your soul rest in peace,” she wrote.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the Health Ministry said Sophany had died due to pneumonia and heart problems caused by Covid-19.

After arriving at Khmer-Soviet hospital, scans found that almost all areas of both lungs were affected and she was suffering from a severe lack of oxygen.

Doctors used a ventilator and tube in her trachea but could not save her, the statement said.

“The Ministry of Health would like to express its deepest condolences to the deceased’s family,” it said.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. with more details from Hour Lavy.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. with Vy Dyneth’s Facebook post and Health Ministry statement.

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