With 44 More Covid-19 Cases, More Than 250 Recorded in a Week

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A woman wearing a mask near the Phnom Penh riverside, with the Sokha Hotel, now a Covid-19 quarantine site, seen across the river, on February 23, 2021. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

The Health Ministry announced 44 more Covid-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total to more than 250 in a week, while authorities suspended all organized sports and gatherings for exercise and Taiwan put Cambodia on its “medium-risk” list, slightly raising travel restrictions.

A ministry statement Friday morning said testing found 40 new cases related to the “February 20” cluster, including seven in Sihanoukville and the rest in Phnom Penh. Six were Vietnamese, two Cambodian, one Malaysian and 31 Chinese.

It also announced four other cases, travelers who arrived in Cambodia earlier this month, and no recoveries.

The cluster emerged on Saturday last week, after some Chinese women left quarantine at Phnom Penh’s Sokha Hotel.

On Thursday evening, the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration said in a statement that six locations had been closed due to suspected Covid-19 exposure, while 19 other businesses had also voluntarily shut as a precaution.

Health officials had taken samples from 1,562 people for testing, the provincial administration said. The Health Ministry has yet to release wider testing numbers.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, meanwhile, issued a statement requesting the temporary closure of fitness clubs, sport activities and all kinds of group exercise in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk until further notice.

The ministry said the community Covid-19 outbreak was larger and more complicated than the country had previously seen.

On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control also announced it was moving Cambodia to its list of medium-risk countries after it “determined that cases in the country would continue to rise.”

Travelers from medium-risk countries to Taiwan are still eligible for shortened quarantine periods, but the minimum quarantine period will be seven days instead of five.

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