No New Positive Covid-19 Cases After Third Tests of Diplomat Cluster

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Coronavirus (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The Health Ministry announced Monday morning that no new positive Covid-19 cases were found from 1,352 tests over the weekend of a cluster of suspected contacts of Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who visited the country nearly two weeks ago.

Szijjarto, who made an official visit on November 3, tested positive just after leaving the country. Four contacts have been found to have Covid-19: a ruling party lawmaker, senior government official, bodyguard and the Hungarian ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia.

“Even though the third tests found all negative results, which is a better outcome for Cambodia at this time, we must not forget that this Covid-19 virus could attack us at any time, any circumstance and any place,” the ministry said in its statement.

It said 1,741 samples had been tested in the first round of testing, 825 in the second round, and 1,352 in the third. An earlier statement said 826 samples were received in the second round of testing.

Suspected contacts will be retested again on Wednesday, 15 days after Szijjarto’s visit.

“In order to avoid the high risk, which is hard to estimate, about the transmission of this fierce virus in the community, Health Minister Mam Bunheng would like to appeal to and advise all members of the public to keep protecting their health by implementing simple measures,” the statement said.

The ministry recommended social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks especially when traveling.

Amid criticism of Szijjarto apparently flouting Covid-19 entry requirements and government officials not following their own health advice at diplomatic meetings, the government closed down schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal towns, and cinemas, karaoke bars, gyms and other venues nationwide for two weeks. Suspected contacts have spread to at least eight provinces around the country.

Cambodia has reported 302 coronavirus cases since January, with 13 active cases and 289 recoveries.

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