Health Minister Mam Bun Heng yesterday announced the Kingdom has detected its first Novel Coronavirus infection in Preah Sihanouk province.
He said in a press conference yesterday evening the infection was detected by the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia yesterday on 60-year-old Chinese national Jia Jianhua, who returned from Wuhan with three family members on Thursday.
“According to the patient’s history, Mr Jia and his family left Wuhan for Sihanoukville on January 23 via a direct flight,” Mr Bun Heng said. “He was diagnosed with a fever and runny nose on January 25.”
“A working team at the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia at 3pm [yesterday] took specimens from the noses and throats of [Mr Jia and members of his family],” he added. “The results confirmed specimens of Mr Jia tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus.”
Mr Bun Heng said Mr Jia is now quarantined at the provincial referral hospital and health officials are monitoring him.
Mr Bung Heng said Mr Jia’s family members are also being monitored at the hospital.
“The doctors are closely monitoring their health,” he said, noting Mr Jia is displaying symptoms consistent with common flu.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 2,014 confirmed global cases as of Sunday, with 1,985 cases reported in China. It said there have been 56 deaths as of Sunday.
However, the Health Ministry yesterday said WHO reported of 2,761 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 81 deaths.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine at the press conference held yesterday said the ministry is also monitoring the taxi driver who travelled with Mr Jia in Sihanoukville and two others who came in contact with the patient after he returned.
“Those three people have not shown any related symptoms, but health officials are closely monitoring them,” Ms Vandine said. “We are also searching for others who may have come in contact with the patient.”
She said travellers must be wary and those showing symptoms must seek immediate medical treatment.
According to media reports, the city of Wuhan has been locked down, leaving about five million people quarantined.
Koy Kuong, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, yesterday said Cambodian students there are in good health and the Cambodian consulate general regularly communicates with the Hubei Province Foreign Affairs Office.
In addition, social media users yesterday reported a sharp hike in the price of medical face masks sold by some retailers.
Some said masks previously sold for about $2 are now being sold for up to $15 apiece.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan at a separate press conference held yesterday at the Council of Ministers office said the act would be unacceptable if the reports were true.
“I would like to ask face mask sellers not to cause trouble,” Mr Siphan said. “If there was a hike in face mask prices, it would be considered as subversion.”
“Please keep the masks affordable so everyone can use them,” he added.