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Health Ministry contemplates new virus prevention strategy

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Or Vandine, Health Ministry spokeswoman. KT/Tep Sony

The Health Ministry is considering urging suspected COVID-19 patients to self-isolate to prevent possible coronavirus infections among family members.

“A patient who does not know he or she has the virus can infect family members,” Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry said during a press conference yesterday. “According to census data, one family has about three or four members.”

“We are thinking about [urging potential patients to self-isolate],” she added. “This is the measure needed to prevent infection among family members.”

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 179,111 global cases, including 7,426 deaths, as of Tuesday.

The government has confirmed 37 cases of the virus in the Kingdom, most of which was from this week alone.

“We detected the virus in two Malaysian nationals [in the Kingdom],” Ms Vandine said.

According to the Health Ministry, the two travelled with 70 Cambodians from Malaysia, where they had attended a religious mass.

The ministry noted the government has reserved rooms at the Great Duke Hotel to house people under quarantine for contracting the coronavirus.

Ms Vandine said provincial health departments are monitoring the 70 Cambodians as some had tested positive for the virus.

“We have sub-national health officials monitoring the patients’ recovery process and providing details on suspected cases,” she said, adding the public should practise good hygiene, take precaution by avoiding public gatherings. “Self-quarantine is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday issued a directive announcing the creation of the National Committee for Combatting COVID-19.

The directive said Mr Hun Sen is chairman while the vice-chairs are Interior Minister Sar Kheng, Defence Minister General Tea Banh, Council Minister Bin Chhin, Finance Minister Aun Pornmonirath and Health Minister Mam Bun Heng.

The committee is responsible for planning policies and strategies to protect citizens from COVID-19 and manage any societal and economic impact.

In other news, Phan Soben, a representative of Compagnie Fluiale du Mekong, a tour boat operating company, said yesterday 34 passengers of a ship rejected from docking in Ho Chi Minh city, boarded flights to their respective countries via Phnom Penh International Airport.

Mr Soben said 43 other passengers of two ships prevented from docking in Vietnam are still on board the vessels in Phnom Penh, as they wait for their flights out of the Kingdom tomorrow.

He said 90 crew members of all three ships are still on their boats pending the departure of all passengers.

“They are not allowed to disembark to prevent new cases of COVID-19,” Mr Soben said.

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