Cambodia has no confirmed cases of a new respiratory virus that has killed at least 17 people in China and spread to five countries, a Health Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
Suspected cases of the coronavirus continue to be tested in Cambodia, mostly in Phnom Penh, but samples sent to government labs and the Pasteur Institute have all tested negative for the virus, Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann told VOD.
“Up to today at 5 p.m. there’s no confirmed case yet,” Sovann said in a message. The country is “still free of Novel Coronavirus infection.”
More than 580 confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been reported globally, with the majority reported in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Four cases have also been reported in Thailand, and one case each in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, the U.S. and South Korea, according to a WHO report from Thursday. All those with the virus had traveled to Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, where, on December 31, the WHO was informed of a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin.
The 17 reported deaths were all in Hubei, the WHO said.
Officials have said that social media posts claiming the virus had been detected in Preah Sihanouk and Svay Rieng provinces were false.
On Thursday, a Facebook account with the name Kanha Leng claimed there was a coronavirus infection in Preah Sihanouk but the provincial hall’s spokesman said the claim was untrue.
“By this hour, the whole territory of Preah Sihanouk province has no kind of this new virus, coronavirus,” spokesman Kheang Phearum told VOD in a message.
“Any baseless news broadcast is like polluting the country and causing chaos,” he said.
The Health Ministry has set up thermal scanners in the nation’s three international airports to monitor passengers, especially those coming from Wuhan, and deployed some 2,000 health officials across the country who have been trained to respond to the virus, the ministry’s communicable disease control department said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Civil Aviation Secretariat spokesman Sinn Chanserey Vutha said that as of 4 p.m. on Thursday, he had not received any reports of a case detected at the Sihanoukville International Airport.
The WHO said the initial source of the virus remains unknown, but it is clear that the growing outbreak is not due to ongoing exposures at Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market, since in the past week less than 15 percent of new cases reported having visited the market.
On Wednesday, the organization’s emergency committee ruled that the spread of the virus was a matter of urgency but did not yet constitute a “public health emergency of international concern.”
Additional reporting by Matt Surrusco
(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)