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Flights banned from two nations

Khann Chanvirak / Khmer Times Share:
Passengers from Malaysia arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport. KT/Pann Rachana

Alarmed over the number of Covid-positive passengers   coming in via Malaysia and Indonesia, the government is temporarily suspending flights from both countries from August 1 until their infection rates  decline.

“According to Mr Hun Sen’s statement, the prime minister has agreed to temporarily suspend flights from Indonesia and Malaysia after observing the high transmission rates from passengers travelling from both countries,” a Ministry of Health statement said.

Almost all of those who tested positive were Cambodian citizens returning from Russia and the Middle East via transit flights through Malaysia. They had been stranded in various middle east countries and Russia for a lengthy period of time.

It said: “Between June 20th and July 25th, the Ministry noted a significant increase in imported cases of COVID-19, most of whom took flights from Malaysia and Indonesia.”

The statement also said the move was in light of the upcoming holidays in August, which requires extra measures to be taken to prevent potential virus transmission.

Mr Hun Sen confirmed the move yesterday via his official Facebook page, stating the measures were necessary to prevent the spread of the virus in Cambodia.

“Recently, we have observed a large number of people infected with COVID-19 arriving from Malaysia and Indonesia. In response, we have decided to suspend flights temporarily from these two countries,” Mr Hun Sen said.

“People should not underestimate COVID-19. This respiratory disease is very serious, highly infectious and there is no cure yet,” he said.

Last week, the Health Ministry reported 27 more positive cases of COVID-19, of which 23 are Cambodian and four are Indonesian.

The four Indonesians are three men aged between 37 and 47 and a 47-year-old woman, who arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport on July 23.

All of them are now being treated at the Chak Angre Krom Health Centre in the capital.

Eighty Cambodian peacekeepers are currently in quarantine at the Multinational Peacekeeping Forces Training School after returning home from a United Nations mission in Mali on July 10. Facebook

The 148 passengers who flew with them are continuing their mandatory quarantine in multiple locations. Fifty-four passengers have been quarantined in Kolab Sor Phnom Penh hotel quarantine centre and 92 passengers have been quarantined in Pochentong high school in the capital. The remaining two passengers, who reported having a fever, have been taken to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and are awaiting test results to determine the cause of their illness.

Another four Cambodians, three men aged between 25 and 29 and a 38-year-old woman, who also arrived in Phnom Penh on July 23 and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 are now being treated at the Chak Angre Krom Health Centre. The 55 passengers who flew with them are undergoing quarantine at the Royal Air Force quarantine centre.

The ministry also reported that 15 Cambodian men aged between 24 and 38, who returned home from Russia and Egypt on July 19, tested positive for the virus. They are currently being treated at the Kampong Speu Provincial Referral Hospital, a statement said.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said Cambodians must take the coronavirus threat seriously and urged them to continue practising prevention measures.

“Although the most recent cases of COVID-19 were imported, it is still a large number of new cases and we cannot ignore that,” she said.

Vandine also called on domestic tourists to be vigilant as COVID-19 is highly infectious.

“All travellers must be very careful because risks of coronavirus transmission can occur anytime, any place and anywhere. Please do not forget to protect yourself or take this pandemic lightly,” she added.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cambodia has so far identified a total of 225 cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom, consisting of 46 women and 179 men. Of them, 143 have recovered.


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