Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto shakes hands with Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon at a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh on November 3, 2020, as Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn look on, in this photograph posted to Hun Sen's Facebook page.

Opinion: After Szijjarto, What’s Next for Cambodia’s Covid-19 Response?

After a visit by Hungary’s foreign minister, his shirking of health protocols and subsequent renewed Covid-19 closures and quarantines, the initial public fury has had time to settle. Now, we need to focus on testing, transparency and taking precautions seriously, writes Matt Surrusco.

Doung Dara, an assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, (seated, in white shirt) meets with people in Kampot province on November 6, 2020, in this photograph posted to his Facebook page.

PM’s Assistant Asks ‘What Did I Do Wrong?’ After Dozens Quarantined

An assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen told a local media outlet that he didn’t know he was supposed to be in quarantine as he visited coastal areas — causing dozens to go into quarantine — despite being an indirect contact to a visiting diplomat who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving the country.

Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn greets his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, in front of several camera operators during Szijjarto's visit in Phnom Penh on November 3, 2020.

Foreign Minister Defends Szijjarto, Citing Hungary’s Support on EBA

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn on Thursday defended his Hungarian counterpart — noting Hungary’s past political support — amid an online backlash against the foreign diplomat after his visit to Cambodia last week spurred renewed Covid-19 closures and some 1,700 people being tested and quarantined.

Labor Ministry officials wait at a quarantine site at Phnom Penh’s Chumpouvoan High School on April 20, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

No More Quarantine-at-Home Option for ‘General’ Arrivals

Foreign arrivals from select countries and who are sponsored by a local company director or other official have had Covid-19 quarantine requirements relaxed, but “general” foreign and Cambodian arrivals no longer have the option to self-isolate at home for two weeks, according to the Health Ministry’s latest guidelines.

A patient screening point in the front of Royal Phnom Penh Hospital on July 28, 2020 (Matt Surrusco/VOD)

Two Schools Close in Wake of PM Assistant’s Preah Sihanouk Visit

Two schools have been closed in Preah Sihanouk province due to Covid-19 precautions after a prime ministerial assistant visited three coastal provinces over the weekend despite being a suspected contact of a visiting Hungarian foreign minister who tested positive after leaving the country last week.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto and European counterparts during a video conference call posted to his Facebook page on November 6, 2020.

Hungarian Minister Shares Laughs About Cambodia Trip From Quarantine

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto shared some laughs with his counterparts in Austria and Slovenia last week about his recent visit to Cambodia, which has triggered renewed Covid-19 closures in the country, and the quarantine and testing of more than 1,000 people, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Authorities raise awareness of Covid-19 at an intersection in central Phnom Penh on April 15, 2020. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

Health Ministry Advises Against Weddings, Concerts, Group Dinners

People should avoid social gatherings such as weddings, concerts, dinner parties and group exercise, and conduct meetings and workshops digitally where possible, the Health Ministry said Tuesday evening amid testing and contact tracing for Covid-19 cases related to a diplomat’s visit.