Cambodia Sees Largest Single-Day Rise in Covid-19 Cases, Now at 84

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A motorbike driver waits for customers outside the Health Ministry in Phnom Penh on March 19, 2020. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)
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The Health Ministry reported 31 new Covid-19 cases late Sunday, marking the nation’s largest number of new confirmed cases in a single day and bringing the total infection count to 84 since January.

The government also confirmed on Sunday that an official had tested positive earlier this month.

Two Cambodian tour guides and 29 French tourists who tested positive for the respiratory disease on Sunday are quarantined in a hotel in Preah Sihanouk province, according to a Health Ministry statement.

The 17 French women and 12 French men, aged 48 to 76 years old, were among a group of 36 French tourists, five of whom tested negative, the ministry said.

Two other French men from the same group were confirmed to have tested positive on Saturday. The tour group arrived in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday and had planned to depart on Saturday.

The government this month told citizens not to travel to European nations, the U.S. or Iran, following the issuing of entry bans for people traveling from Iran, France, Germany, Italy, Spain or the U.S.

Cambodia has also ordered closed public and private schools, museums, dance clubs, karaoke venues, or KTVs, and cinemas, as well as banned religious gatherings and public concerts. Travel across borders with neighboring countries has also been restricted.

Of Cambodia’s 84 confirmed cases, a Chinese man, who was the first reported Covid-19 patient in the country, recovered and left Cambodia in February. One of three British nationals who tested positive for the novel coronavirus while on a Mekong riverboat cruise, a 65-year-old British woman, recovered and was discharged from hospital quarantine on Sunday.

Cambodia’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Department said in a Facebook post that the government had “no reason to hide” information about a high-ranking Cambodian official who tested positive for the virus, after some local news reports claimed the government was keeping quiet about a senior Foreign Affairs Ministry official who supposedly tested positive.

CDC said on Sunday that it had publicized information on March 18 related to an official.

“We had included the data of a Cambodian official who tested positive with Covid-19 after returning from France into the data list on March 18, 2020. We have no reason to hide the data,” the department said. 

The Health Ministry announced on March 18 that two Cambodian men, aged 71 and 52, who had attended a Muslim religious gathering in Malaysia, which has since been linked to hundreds of Covid-19 cases across Southeast Asia, had tested positive and were quarantined in Tbong Khmum province.

The ministry reported on March 15 that a Cambodian man returning from a trip to France had tested positive and was quarantined in Phnom Penh.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a Facebook post on Monday morning that China had sent doctors to help with Covid-19 treatment efforts as well as provided health equipment, as the Health Ministry continues to trace and test people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Additional reporting by Sun Sokhen

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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