UPDATED — A Hungarian man has been confirmed positive for Covid-19 and was located by authorities at his Siem Reap City villa after officials said earlier that he had gone missing and was suspected to have contracted the virus, the Health Ministry said on Saturday afternoon.
Officials had said Saturday morning that the 70-year-old man was unreachable after a retest on the 13th day of his home quarantine on Friday came back with a result suspected to be positive. He had initially tested negative for Covid-19 upon arriving in Cambodia on September 13 from France via South Korea.
The man traveled by private taxi from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on September 16, only stopping once for gas, the ministry said in a statement.
After arriving in Siem Reap, he and his wife went by tuk-tuk the following day to purchase a painting from Angkor Enterprise. They wore masks when they went out, the ministry said.
Otherwise, the man, who is writing a book, had been working from home. His wife went to a market one time.
Officials are conducting contact tracing, and the man and his wife are now at Siem Reap Provincial Hospital.
The man was located at about 9 a.m. on Saturday at his villa in Kruos village in Siem Reap City’s Svay Dangkum commune, according to the ministry.
His sample was sent to Phnom Penh’s Pasteur Institute late Friday night, and the lab confirmed his positive result on Saturday morning.
“While waiting for the confirmation of this result from the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, the provincial health department’s working group was unable to contact the man, and the man had escaped from his residence,” the ministry said in a statement earlier Saturday.
“Siem Reap authorities are searching for this Hungarian man.”
A confirmed positive result on Saturday would raise the risk of community transmission if the man had been moving around Siem Reap and had contact with many people, the ministry had said.
“A rapid response team will conduct an immediate tracing [of his contacts] when the man is found,” it said.
The ministry appealed to anyone who has had contact with the 70-year-old man to report to the Siem Reap Provincial Health Department for Covid-19 testing.
Cambodia has recorded 276 coronavirus cases since January, with two confirmed active cases and no related deaths reported.
Updated at 4:25 p.m. with details on a Hungarian man being confirmed positive for Covid-19 and located by authorities.