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Officials track returning migrant workers for health checks

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
One of the migrant workers who returned to Battambang province. KT/Pry Nehru

Relevant officials are on a race to locate migrant workers who recently returned from Thailand to observe their health conditions and mitigate risks of a COVID-19 outbreak following the order of Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday.

Speaking to hundreds of health practitioners, Mr Hun Sen said all returning migrant workers must receive health checks and isolate themselves from their families even if they do not exhibit symptoms of the disease.

“Provincial authorities must ensure they use all means necessary to widely disseminate information about infection preventative and control measures, including practising self-isolation, to migrant workers who returned home,” he said.

“I have assigned authorities at each province to designate specific quarantine sites or monitor the workers sequestered at home,” Mr Hun Sen added.

He also called on the workers to not be afraid of getting tested as this is the only way to secure their health and that of their families.

“If you do not want to be tested, please isolate yourself at home and refrain from going to public places. Do not touch your family members during this time either,” he said.

About 15,000 migrant workers rushed back to Cambodia on Sunday as Thailand closed its border, with most of them going back to their villages.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday said the government is considering locking down any village should more than two of its returning migrant workers test positive for the virus.

Samples taken from nearly 100 migrant workers detected with high body temperatures tested negative for the virus, Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said yesterday, noting thousands of workers were in normal health conditions.

“We only took swabs from symptomatic migrant workers. We advised the others to isolate themselves and monitor their health regularly. I could not estimate how many of them have received health checks. I only hope they follow the preventative measures we’ve disseminated,” said Mr Sovann.

Suong Pha, 25, one of the returning workers from Bangkok, said he received a health check at Phnom Penh International Airport and was temporarily stopped when his body temperature rose to 38.6C. However, Mr Pha said he was allowed to return home to Kandal province after his body temperature dropped to 36C on the same day.

“I felt scared at the time. I was not allowed to go anywhere but after drinking lots of water, I asked the doctor to check me again. They saw an improvement so they allowed me to return home and instructed me to isolate myself from my parents. I am now living in a small shelter behind my house,” he said.

Soeum Bunrith, deputy governor of Battambang province, said yesterday provincial authorities are still looking for migrant workers who have not as yet received the mandated health checks.

“We have recorded 3,097 migrant workers returned to the province since Monday. We are not sure if more will come. We are also using cars and motors to spread information about how to prevent contracting the virus and to call on migrant workers to appear for health checks,” he said.


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