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Prime Minister Hun Sen cuts a ribbon at the inauguration ceremony of the Sunrise Japan Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen cuts a ribbon at the inauguration ceremony of the Sunrise Japan Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday. Facebook

PM calls for increased vigilance for Zika virus

Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking at the inauguration of a hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday, called on the Ministry of Health, the public and those who have recently travelled abroad to take precautionary measures to prevent Zika from reaching the Kingdom.

His comments came during a ceremony for the $30 million Sunrise Japan Hospital, which is scheduled to begin operating October 4.

“The disease is right at our gate now,” he said. “[Zika] has not spread into Cambodia yet, but it is coming closer . . . I ask for high attention on maintenance, and [for people] to do what it takes to prevent the disease from spreading into Cambodia.”

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore have all seen cases of Zika, which has been linked to birth defects. But as of yesterday, no Zika cases had been reported in Cambodia, said Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann.

Sovann said Zika is not as “serious” as dengue fever, but urged pregnant woman to take extra precautionary measures. The mosquito-borne virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

“The Health Ministry is launching a nationwide campaign of health education to prevent and stop Zika, both along the [Thai] border and inside the country,” he said. “Meanwhile, experts are improving the Zika monitoring to . . . to prevent it spreading in time.”

From 2007 to 2010, the country saw seven Zika cases from a local form of the virus.

Additional reporting by Matthieu de Gaudemar

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