Retired Doctor, 75, Dies of Covid-19 as Case Numbers Rise Again

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People walk in and out of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh on March 19, 2020. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

A 75-year-old retired doctor who was chair of the National Olympic Committee’s sports science commission died of Covid-19 on Monday just a day after testing positive, the Health Ministry said.

He is the country’s sixth Covid-19 patient to die, and the fourth death attributed to the disease.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry said the man, who lived in Pur Senchey district, was admitted to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning after getting a positive test result for Covid-19 that same day.

He was “very weak and tired” and had trouble breathing, the ministry said. Doctors found his lungs had already been severely damaged by the respiratory disease.

The retired doctor, who also suffered from high blood pressure, died at the hospital at 8 a.m. Monday morning due to Covid-19, the statement said.

The death came as the ministry announced 73 new Covid-19 cases on Monday and 17 recoveries. The country now has 780 active cases after accounting for the retired doctor’s death.

In a resurgence, 32 of the new cases were found in Preah Sihanouk, which saw a spike in cases early in the “February 20” cluster, leading to travel restrictions in and out of the coastal province, but had seen relatively few new cases in the past week compared to other hotspots.

The capital had 30 new cases on Monday, including two new arrivals from Indonesia. The rest were related to the community cluster. Only seven patients were placed at the Chak Angre Health Center and the remaining 23 are awaiting placement.

The provinces of Kandal, Prey Veng and Siem Reap also had three, one and one new cases, respectively.

Kampong Thom saw five new cases to reach a total of eight in the province, while Kep recorded its first Covid-19 case from the February 20 cluster, a 34-year-old Cambodian woman living in Kep city.

Schools were shut nationwide over the weekend amid the worst coronavirus outbreak to date in Cambodia, which the Health Ministry and World Health Organization have called “alarming” while urging the public to take health precautions seriously.

Monday’s death followed two deaths on Friday, a 46-year-old man and a woman in her 60s, both in Phnom Penh.

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