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PM restricts citizens from travelling to COVID-19 worst-hit countries

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A health official checks the health of a person under quarantine in Koh Kong province. BTV

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday restricted citizens from travelling to the United States, Iran and parts of Europe over COVID-19 fears.

“Citizens must not travel to Europe, the US and Iran unless going abroad is mandatory,” he said. “All national and sub-national level officials must not attend meetings held in Europe, the US and Iran.”

“Members of institutions invited [to go abroad] must inform the Foreign Affairs Ministry so a representative there can be a substitute attendee,” Mr Hun Sen added. “Government officials returning from Europe, the US and Iran are required to be quarantined for 14 days.”

The Health Ministry in a statement Sunday said the government has imposed a temporary travel ban on the arrival of people coming from the US, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Iran.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry subsequently said the ban will take effect Tuesday. The ministry said the temporary ban was in force because the six countries have increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Mr Hun Sen said yesterday Cambodians should refrain from travelling to the six countries.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 153,517 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 5,735 deaths worldwide as of Sunday.

Health Ministry officials take bio samples of people suspected of COVID-19 infection. BTV

There have been a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the Kingdom as of yesterday evening.

The diplomat who recently returned from France could be Cambodia’s 13th case, but the Health Ministry has not officially announced it.

“We tested him in Cambodia and the result was positive for COVID-19,” one health official who requested anonymity said yesterday. “The identity of the senior official has not been revealed.”

According to a Health Ministry press release, the number of cases rose over the weekend after “a four-month-old infant of a French national, a Cambodian citizen who returned from France and two other citizens who attended a religious congregation in Malaysia recently” tested positive.

Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, yesterday said one more citizen tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Malaysia for the religious congregation.

Ms Vandine said the three were part of a group of 70 Cambodians from Koh Kong province who were in Malaysia for a religious ceremony.

“We took 20 samples from them and we are looking to locate the rest for testing,” she said.

Sok Sokty, spokesman for the Koh Kong Provincial Hall, said yesterday the three patients are now under quarantine.

“They are healthy, but we are continuing to monitor their condition,” Mr Sokty said, adding the group arrived in the Kingdom on March 2.

Othsman Hassan, president of the Muslim Development Foundation, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In addition, the Health Ministry is warning passengers who were aboard a flight from Bangkok last week could be exposed to a recently discovered COVID-19 patient.

It is not clear whether the patient is included in official government figures.

“If you were on the same flight, seated in rows 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, you are asked to monitor your health for 14 days,” Ly Sovann, director of the ministry’s communicable disease control department, said, referring to passengers of Bangkok Airways flight PG933, which landed in Phnom Penh on March 9.

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