Updated: Total Covid-19 Cases Top 1,000 as Hun Sen Orders Quarantine Transfer

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A worker disinfects Phnom Penh’s Great Duke hotel ahead of a planned transfer of Covid-19 patients, in a photo posted to Hun Manet’s Facebook page.
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The country recorded 24 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, putting the total found since the start of the pandemic at 1,011, as Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered that patients be transferred out of the Phnom Penh Quarantine Center where a man died on Thursday and some patients spoke of poor care.

The Health Ministry on Monday announced 24 new cases and seven recoveries, with three of the new cases in Kandal province, one in Kampong Cham, one in Kampong Thom, seven in Preah Sihanouk and 12 in Phnom Penh.

There are currently 493 active cases of Covid-19 amid the spread of the “February 20” cluster.

Hun Sen near midnight on Saturday ordered all patients to be transferred from the Phnom Penh Quarantine Center in Prek Pnov district to the shuttered Great Duke Hotel, formerly the InterContinental.

“I am shocked when I know that the hospital, Prek Pnov’s quarantine center, is not a place for treatment. And from what I know, it is a place where a person who is not sick, [after] they arrive there, they will get sick. So it is impossible for recovery,” Hun Sen said.

Patients who earlier spoke to VOD said the center, made up of four large warehouse-style buildings, had poor conditions, including lacking hot water, air conditioning and temperature checks. One woman said the man who died there last week had been coughing and had told her he had a fever for four days. She said the body was left in the building for seven to eight hours before it was removed.

Hun Sen put his son, Hun Manet, in charge of the transfer to the Great Duke.

“A location that is not suitable for a hospital was selected, so I am disappointed, frankly speaking,” Hun Sen said.

On Facebook, Manet, who is a general in the armed forces, posted a notice that the transfer would begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

The hotel can house up to 500 Covid-19 patients who do not have severe symptoms, he said.

On Sunday, Prey Veng provincial health department deputy director Hun Rith said a new case in the province was a local doctor. The doctor had been away from work since February 28 because he was not feeling well, but Rith cautioned that depending on the timing the doctor could have been in contact with many clients. The doctor did not know who he might have gotten Covid-19 from, Rith added.

In Kampong Thom, a new case was a recent returnee from Sihanoukville, provincial health department director Srey Sin said.

The Telecommunications Ministry said its contact tracing QR-code app had 99,224 locations registered by Sunday and was scanned by visitors nearly 5 million times.

The ministry said it had used the scans to discover that individuals who were supposed to be conducting self-quarantine at home had scanned themselves into several locations in violation of quarantine rules.

It noted that violators would face fines of 1 to 5 million riel, or about $250 to $1,250.

Updated at 3:51 p.m. with details from Prey Veng, Kampong Thom and the Telecommunications Ministry.

A Covid-19 treatment room at the Great Duke hotel, in a photo posted to the Facebook page of Hun Manet.
A Covid-19 treatment room at the Great Duke hotel, in a photo posted to the Facebook page of Hun Manet.
Security at the Great Duke hotel, in a photo posted to the Facebook page of Hun Manet.
Security at the Great Duke hotel, in a photo posted to the Facebook page of Hun Manet.

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