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Cambodia’s February 20 community incident involving COVID-19 hotspots

Ambulances on standby outside the Club N8 in Phnom Penh Saturday morning. KT/Pann Rachana

Up to 13 sites have been identified as source of cluster infections leading to the February 20 Community Outbreak of COVID-19 in Cambodia.

The spots identified are: N8 nightclub near the Olympic stadium, Casa Meridian, Le Gong Guan Hotel, City Comfort Hotel, The Bridge, The Point Service Apartments, Yi Lu Xian restaurant, 18E Mekong street, Pent House Apartment, Sky Line (Dumex),  Somet Condominium, Residence L Olympic and Prince Plaza Centre.

A bulk of the 32 COVID-19 positive cases had lived or frequented these places. The four escapes from quarantine from Sokha had reportedly been hopping from one apartment to another.

Ministry of Health officials who declined identification said “Contact tracing has been ongoing for the past 24 hours and a lot of people have been traced and samples taken. We fear there may be more cases which maybe announced as positive in the days to come.

“Contact tracing is tedious in this case as the number of places and venues are vast and there were many patrons in these places. Club N8 alone has more than 50 people who have been tested and awaiting results,” the official said.

The outbreak is believed to have been sparked by the daring bribery and escape of four people who were under quarantine in Sokha Hotel. They escaped by bribing two guards. Of the four, two were tested positive for COVID-19.

Among those tested positive are Chinese nationals, a majority of the 32, are aged between 23 and 39, a Vietnamese national,  a Chilean national and another from an Asian country.

Khmer Times has been very reliably told that intense discussions and deliberations are on going with regard to security in quarantine centres where a number of people under quarantine have escaped, despite their passports or other identification being retained by the hotel or the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health has also  called on everyone who entered N8 Club in the capital between February 4 and 19, as well as those who came into direct contact with the “February 20 Community Incident”, to undergo 14-day quarantine and go for a COVID-19 test at Chak Angre Health Centre.

The in house hotel security might be changed and replaced with gendamarie or military police to prevent further escapes from quarantines centres throughout the country.

The 516 confirmed cases include 346 Cambodians, 50 Chinese, 45 French, 18 Indonesians, 13 Malaysians, 12 Americans, 6 British, 5 Indians, 4 Vietnamese, 3 Canadians, 2 Hungarians, 2 Pakistanis, 2 Japanese, 2 Nigerians, 1 Belgian, 1 Kazakhstani, 1 Polish, 1 Jordanian, 1 Swiss, and 1 Chilean.

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