Two Provincial Markets Under Scrutiny in Local Covid-19 Cluster

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Kandal province residents in quarantine at Takhmao city’s Prek Tapov Primary School during a visit by provincial governor Kong Sophorn, in a photo posted to the governor’s Facebook page on December 8, 2020.
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A local market in Kandal province has been closed down while another in Kampong Chhnang is being sprayed down with disinfectant as health authorities trace the contacts of patients who tested positive for Covid-19 this week.

The local cluster is up to 38 cases, with the latest 16 cases linked to Phnom Penh fashion stores Pedro and Zando.

In Kandal’s Kandal Stung district, Boeng Khyang commune chief Nay Chandy said a doctor at the local market had recently treated the father of a patient in the cluster.

“We’ve decided to close it temporarily to see the [testing] results,” Chandy said of Phsar Boeng Khyang.

Commune police chief Pring Ratha said the doctor was popular and always had people around him. 

“If the results show that he has the infection, there will be more infections in Boeng Khyang,” Ratha said. “Things will get closed down completely because he has walked around many places.”

The vendors in the shuttered market would need to travel to other markets in the surrounding areas to sell, he added. He was concerned this could lead to more crowding in those other markets, he said.

In the same district’s Prek Sleng commune, police chief Mik Bunthan said a local pagoda was closed and its monks asked to quarantine there.

The same patient’s father visited the pagoda on Sunday, Bunthan said.

Provincial governor Kong Sophorn said in a social media post that seven people in Kandal were considered to have had direct contact with the 35-year-old woman whose positive test was announced on Tuesday. She visited Pedro in Phnom Penh on November 27.

Thirty-seven others had indirect contact. All were tested at the Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital in Takhmao city, Sophorn said. About 20 people were quarantined at Prek Tapov Primary School, he added.

Keam Piseth, deputy director of the provincial health department, added that two of the new Covid-19 patients announced on Wednesday lived in Kandal. They are both employees at Pedro.

Piseth said contact tracing for all three cases that have been linked to Kandal had so far found 69 total direct and indirect contacts. “We are still looking for people who have had contact with them.”

Meanwhile, in Kampong Chhnang, a Zando customer whose positive Covid-19 test was announced on Tuesday had family who worked at a local market in the province, said Prak Von, director of the provincial health department.

“We do not know how much contact they’ve had with each other,” Von said. “So we’ve sprayed the market as a precautionary measure.”

Fifty-six people have been tested and quarantined in Kampong Chhnang, he added.

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