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Poipet border checkpoint on alert for new virus after Thailand scare

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Foreign tourists walk past the Poipet border crossing near Thailand. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Authorities in Banteay Meanchey province have stepped up checks at the Poipet border with Thailand following reports that a Chinese tourist to that country had been confirmed to be infected with a new pneumonia-like disease.

Provincial Governor Oum Reatrey yesterday said that thermal scanners to detect fever had already been installed and were operational at the border checkpoint.

“We have already installed the scanners to screen travellers for the new form of virus but until now there have been no cases detected at the Poipet border,” he said.

Bangkok Post reported on Monday a Chinese tourist was found infected with the new strain of coronavirus when she arrived in Thailand.

It quoted Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as saying the woman is being treated in hospital and was expected to be discharged in a few days.

Mr Anutin said the 61-year-old woman was recovering at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province.

She now had no fever or any respiratory symptoms. If the doctors cleared her that she would be allowed to go home in a few days, he noted.

Mr Anutin said sixteen other people who were close to the woman on the same flight were examined, and the results were negative.

He said that 59 people in China had been confirmed to be infected with the new strain of the virus, called Novel Coronavirus, which has been linked to a sudden outbreak of pneumonia in central China and one of them died.

All the victims had been to a wholesale market selling animals and seafood in Wuhan city. They were either workers or buyers. There has not been any human-to-human transmission of the new virus.

Coronaviruses are not necessarily life-threatening but have been the underlying cause of public health crises, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed hundreds of people after an outbreak in southern China in 2002 and 2003.

The Wuhan viral outbreak seems to be less virulent and less transmittable, according to the World Health Organization.

Ministry of Health spokesmen Or Vandine and Ly Sovann could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng told reporters on Monday, during an event at the National Pediatric Hospital, that until there has been no sign of the new virus in Cambodia and the Ministry had already to installed thermal scammers at the Kingdom’s entry points to check on visitors.

“We put scanners to check travellers who come into Cambodia and we have also advised visitors to China to be careful,” he noted.

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