Second Covid-19 Case Confirmed, First Cambodian to Test Positive

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Coronavirus (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Cambodia has confirmed its first national to contract Covid-19 inside the country, a 38-year-old man in Siem Reap province who is in hospital quarantine, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said on Saturday.

The Cambodian man was one of four people to have direct contact with a Japanese man who tested positive for the new respiratory disease this week after departing Cambodia, Bunheng said during a press conference.

The three others, including a man and two women, have tested negative, the health minister said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered schools in Siem Reap City to be closed for 14 days, according to Bunheng.

The prime minister also told officials to cancel the annual Angkor Sangkran festivities in Siem Reap, planned for Khmer New Year next month, the minister said.

The four people will remain in mandatory quarantine for two weeks, while 40 others who were identified as coming into indirect contact with the Japanese man are in voluntary isolation, also for two weeks, officials said previously.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said she had met the quarantined man on Friday and he was not showing symptoms of the virus.

The man’s family members would also be quarantined at Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, Vandine said.

Li Ailan, World Health Organization’s representative in Cambodia, urged the public to stay calm and follow health advice from the government and WHO.

WHO has been working with the Health Ministry, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pasteur Institute of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, which has conducted Covid-19 testing, to deploy staff to Siem Reap to conduct public health measures, including contact tracing, Li said.

“This is the second laboratory-confirmed case that has been notified from Cambodia to WHO,” she said.

The Japanese man who tested positive after leaving Cambodia had a travel history to Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the WHO representative. Officials were working to determine the source of his infection, she added.

Cambodia had previously confirmed just one case of Covid-19, a Chinese man who recovered and was released from quarantine in Preah Sihanouk province last month.

Vietnam has reported 18 cases, including 16 individuals who recovered, while the Philippines has confirmed six cases, one death and one recovered patient, according to data from the U.S., E.U., China and World Health Organization (WHO) compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Covid-19 has spread to more than 90 countries since it was first detected in China in late December. The virus has infected more than 102,000 people, more than 57,000 of whom have recovered, and been linked to about 3,500 deaths.

Public health experts have raised concerns that Cambodia and other Southeast Asian nations may have undetected cases. Amid public fears and travel restrictions in various nations, Cambodia’s tourism sector has taken a hit in the first two months of the year.

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