The Preah Sihanouk provincial joint working group has temporarily suspended the business activities of Chinese hospital Thay Khang located in Sihanoukville’s Buon commune on the grounds of operating without a licence and releasing inaccurate information related to COVID-19 inciting fear and social unrest.
Provincial deputy governor Chhin Seng Nguon said yesterday the suspension took effect on Tuesday afternoon as it was caught operating without a Health Ministry licence.
He added on February 9, Chinese national Su YongYun, who had just returned from China and was afraid of the possibility of being infected, went to that hospital for a health check.
Despite having no fever, the hospital results showed that he had a respiratory disease and was suspected of having COVID-19.
The results were sent to the Chinese Chongqing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention by the Thay Khang Hospital. Its contents were later quoted by a Chinese media outlet saying that a patient in Sihanoukville tested positive for the virus.
“After receiving this information, the provincial administrative and health officials immediately intervened to quarantine him in a separate room at the provincial hospital and take the patient’s sample for examination at the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia.
“However, the results came back negative. He had a pneumonia which was caused by excessive smoking,” he said..
He added: “Such publication has caused confusion. Therefore, the Preah Sihanouk provincial joint working group has asked the hospital to contact the Chinese media outlet and Chongqing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to rectify the false information.
“This distortion of information played a role in the decision to suspend the hospital’s business operations. However, the main reason still remains to be due to the hospital’s lack of a ministry permit,” he added.
Min Sokunthea, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk provincial health department, declined to comment over the decision.
Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann said as of yesterday, there are no Cambodian, Chinese and other nationals living in the Kingdom who have been infected with COVID-19, despite hundreds of samples brought for examination at the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia.
“We have worked closely with the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia with the ability to prevent and respond to the COVID-19,” he said.