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Senior officials’ first test negative

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
The National Assembly holds the 5th session of the 6th legislature. National Assembly

The National Assembly (NA) secretary-general Leng Peng Long said yesterday that all of the over 100 lawmakers and officials who came directly and indirectly in contact with an infected senior official have tested negative for COVID-19.

However, he said they will all remain under 14-day quarantine, and major meetings, including the permanent committee meeting and the plenary session, will not be held as normal.

Earlier this week, the NA requested that Health Minister Mam Bun Heng set up a testing venue to have members’ samples taken. It said lawmaker Loy Sophat came in direct contact with Lieutenant General Chhem Savuth, director-general of the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prisons, who tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the NA, 31 lawmakers and officials were considered as having a “medium risk” of infection and 35 other officials were considered as having a “low risk.”

Peng Long said yesterday that results from the Pasteur Institute found that NA president Heng Samrin, first vice-president Nguon Nhel and second vice-president Khuon Sudary are all negative for COVID-19.

“All of them are COVID-19 negative,” he said, adding that health officials’ families, assistants, drivers and those associated with them have also had their samples taken.

Sophat took part in the NA’s plenary session on November 25 that was attended by 116 lawmakers as well as NA and government officials.

Attendees included Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol, Minister of Defence General Tea Banh, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and Minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation Mao Havannall.

He said those involved with the “November 28 community incident” will remain under quarantine while waiting for a second test.

He added that officials have put strict measures in place to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the legislative body.

Peng Long said these measures have been in place since lawmaker Suos Yara tested positive after coming in contact with the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó during the “November 3 incident”.

“All those who enter the National Assembly must wear a face-mask, have temperature checks and clean their hands,” he said. “We also have document sanitising machines.”

He said some NA offices will remain operational, while the NA Expert Commissions will be working online.

The Senate has also suspended some major meetings after the “November 28 community incident”.

CPP senator Sok Eysan said yesterday due to concern over COVID-19, the Senate Expert Commissions have suspended meetings to review draft laws.

“The Senate’s permanent committee meeting, as well as the plenary session, have been delayed,” he said.

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