At least 36 out of 58 visually-disabled people at the Association Music of Disabled People (AMD) tested positive for Covid-19 although they had followed the appropriate health measures, AMD head Chab To said on July 12.
“We are very concerned when test results reveal that 36 of our members have Covid-19. Among them is a pregnant woman and a man with heart disease,” he added.
He said for almost two years, none of the members was allowed to sing in public for donations. However, they had asked to visit their hometowns and when they returned and quarantined, they tested positive.
“We provided personal hygiene, masks, hand sanitisers, Infrared thermometers and we social distanced as well as prohibited members from going out to sing. But they still caught Covid-19,” he said.
According to Tola, when the people were in quarantine, AMD had five staff taking care of them. They were the people that had trained them to sing songs and play music.
“Currently, our association has a shortage of food and medicine for visually-diabled people. The association is running up a debt for electricity and water bills because we cannot go out to sing to get donations. The livelihoods of our brothers and sisters at this time depends on the assistance of authorities, social affairs officials as well as some donors,” he said.
Nhem Morokot, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in charge of the disability section, said the people might have contracted the disease from relatives who might have been infected at the market.
“It is pretty dismal when visually-disabled people staying only at home get Covid-19 from their careless relatives. We are now concerned about the pregnant woman and the man with heart disease. They cannot see so they are at higher risk. When they heard that they had the virus, they cried,” she said.
She said the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation; Phnom Penh Municipal Administration; and local authorities had assisted with treatment and provided them with food, hand sanitisers and masks through AMD.
She called on their families and relatives to exercise increased caution to prevent the spread of the disease and follow preventive health measures.