Ministry of Health officials said Siem Reap provincial authorities had identified 44 people known to have been in contact with a Japanese man who tested positive for Covid-19 in Japan. The 44 had since been quarantined for medical surveillance.

Health officials have reiterated that no Cambodian has contracted Covid-19, which has killed more than 3,200 people and infected more than 95,000 globally.

In a Facebook post, ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said: “We’ve found four people who had been in direct contact with the Japanese man and 40 others with indirect contact. So they will be kept in quarantine for 14 days for health monitoring.

“If symptoms appear, analytical object has to be taken immediately. So far, they have not shown any symptoms.”

On Wednesday, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health reported that the Japanese passenger had transited to Ho Chi Minh City from Siem Reap International Airport before boarding a flight to Nagoya, Japan.

The man, whose identity has not been revealed, tested positive upon landing at the Japanese airport.

Sovann said the Japanese national had travelled to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before returning to his home country.

Cambodia’s ambassador to Japan Ung Rachana on Thursday confirmed to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn that the Japanese man was tested for Covid-19 after he reported having breathing difficulties upon landing at the Chubu airport in Nagoya.

He said the 40-year-old was reportedly not in a healthy condition while in the Philippines.

In a letter to Sokhonn, Rachana said: “The Japanese man travelled to Cambodia on February 16 through Vietnam before flying to the Philippines on February 21. He confirmed he was not feeling well on February 21.

“The man returned to Cambodia on February 28, and on March 3, he went to a Cambodian hospital whose name was not identified. Nagoya TV confirmed that he was having trouble breathing.”

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandin said at a press conference on Thursday that the Kingdom had not received any confirmation from the Japanese embassy in Cambodia about the case.

“The man has been admitted to a hospital in Japan. We worked to identify anyone known to have been in contact with the Japanese man in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines.

“The Siem Reap provincial authorities and Department of Health have not been silent,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a press release that it is working with the Ministry of Health and relevant partners to develop a joint framework and lay out measures to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.

The ministry said the scheme will last six months with a budget of more than $30 million.

“[We] have prepared prevention mechanism, surveillance equipment and set up units to deal with and identify those suspected of contracting the virus,” it said.