Updated: One Covid-19 Patient at Large, Another Refused Hospitalization

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The road is barricaded in front of the Bridge high-rise building in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmorn district after a cluster of Covid-19 cases was announced on February 20, 2021. (Pete Ford)

Updated 10:15 a.m. — Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered all schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal province to close down for at least two weeks as the Health Ministry announced 25 more Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, including two who are not in hospital because they either could not be found or refused treatment, and three carrying the more contagious U.K. variant.

The Health Ministry reported 25 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, with no recoveries. Among the new cases, the ministry said that three individuals were carrying the U.K. variant of Covid-19, which has been found to be more contagious than the initial version.

The ministry added that two of the individuals who tested positive — a Cambodian woman, 42, and a Chinese man, 23 — were not hospitalized, as one of the two could not be contacted and the other refused to be treated.

The total active Covid-19 cases rose to 118 on Tuesday, exceeding Monday’s record 93 active cases. Cambodia has reported a total 593 cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

In a voice message posted Monday night, Hun Sen warned that the latest outbreak, which was announced Saturday, was much more severe than community transmission events related to the visiting Hungarian foreign minister in early November, as well as the outbreak connected to the prisons director’s family later that same month.

“This procedure is to protect both teachers and students in Phnom Penh city and Kandal province,” he said. The premier added that weddings do not need to be postponed, but they should involve fewer people.

Earlier on Monday, the Health Ministry released a list of more than 20 hotels, clubs and other locations that were closed due to links to the latest “February 20” cluster, which has already raised total active cases to the highest levels Cambodia has seen.

Two security guards have been arrested for allegedly allowing Chinese women staying in quarantine at the Sokha Hotel to leave. Two of the women have tested positive for Covid-19, and have been linked to cluster.

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