More Than 80 Being Tested for Covid-19 for Contact With Hungarian Man

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Representatives from the Health Ministry, World Health Organization and Pasteur Institute seated during a press conference in Phnom Penh on April 20, 2020 (Saut Sok Prathna/VOD)
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More than 80 people are being tested for Covid-19 for suspected contact with a 70-year-old Hungarian man who was confirmed to have the disease two weeks after arriving in Cambodia, the Health Ministry said.

Most of the tests are for passengers who shared a flight with the man two weeks ago, while the man’s wife, a tuk-tuk driver and a taxi driver are also being tested. Others, such as the tuk-tuk driver’s wife and children as well as Angkor Enterprise workers who recently sold a painting to the man, are being asked to self-quarantine, but health authorities did not say whether they were being tested.

In a statement, the ministry said on Sunday that 84 passengers were on the flight with the Hungarian man, who arrived from France via South Korea on September 13. A rapid response team is contacting the other passengers for testing, it said.

“The Ministry of Health will inform the public when it gets the results,” the statement said.

The taxi driver drove the man alone from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on September 16, it said.

The ministry did not detail the man’s interaction with the tuk-tuk driver, but said the driver was being quarantined at the Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital for 14 days and his first test for Covid-19 was negative.

The Angkor Enterprise workers had sold a painting to the man on September 17, but they “did not have much interaction because the sick person wore a mask, and he went in and bought a painting in only a short period of time,” the ministry said, without giving further details. “However, health officials are doing more to follow up on this case.”

The ministry said this shopping trip was the man’s one excursion outside self-quarantine. 

Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine could not be reached on Monday. Siem Reap provincial health department director Kros Sarath said he was not authorized to comment.

The Hungarian man was confirmed positive for Covid-19 on Saturday after he was tested on Friday on his 13th day of self-quarantine. He is being treated at the Siem Reap hospital, where his wife is also staying in quarantine. Her first test for Covid-19 came back negative, the ministry statement said.

In a separate release on Monday, the Health Ministry said a British man had recovered from Covid-19, bringing the country’s active confirmed cases back down to one.

Worldwide, almost 33 million cases of Covid-19 have caused nearly 1 million deaths, leading to widespread lockdowns and disruptions to commerce. Cambodia has seen only 276 cases and no official deaths, though the economic impact of the pandemic has been severe, with orders for the country’s garments industry plummeting.

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