The Ministry of Health on December 1 reported three new Covid-19 cases linked to the first confirmed community transmission, raising the total number of infected people to 17.
A report from the ministry said the new cases are related to the “November 28 event”, a reference to the first local transmission on November 28. The new patients include a seven-month-old baby, the youngest to test positive so far.
The ministry conducted 4,869 Covid-19 tests during the two days of November 29-30, resulting in the discovery of the 17 cases.
The three new cases include a 64 year-old Cambodian woman living in Chamkarmon district’s Tuol Tompoung I commune. She is the mother of a patient diagnosed the day before.
The other two were a 25-year-old Cambodian woman and a seven-month-old baby living in Niroth commune, in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district. Both are relatives of General Department of Prisons director-general Chhem Savuth whose wife, Heng Kong, tested positive on November 28.
Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated that this is the first time there has been an outbreak in the community and that the source had not yet been determined.
Hun Sen called for all people who were directly or indirectly exposed, as well as others who suspect they may have been, to be tested for Covid-19 and self-quarantine at home or at designated centres that the health ministry and provincial authorities have prepared across the country.
Meanwhile, the government has directed more than one billion riel ($250,000) to be distributed throughout the country to assist quarantined families.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng announced on December 1 that the municipal administration will disperse funds to all people quarantined in Phnom Penh, allocating to each family 20,000 riel per day for 15 days.
“The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has budgeted to provide assistance for people involved in the November 28 community event, those with negative test results who self-quarantine at home and affected families living in poverty,” he said.
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long requested health minister Mam Bun Heng take action with regard to NA members and civil servants affiliated with Loy Sophat, a parliamentarian who had direct contact with prisons director Chhem Savuth who tested positive for Covid-19.
“Distinguished dignitaries and officials had direct contact with Sophat while eating in the same room and by attending the National Assembly’s plenary session or another later meeting,” he said.
On November 25, Sophat was present at the NA session which was attended by 116 lawmakers, as well as representatives of the government. According to Peng Long, 31 dignitaries and civil servants were exposed to a moderate risk of infection and 35 officials had a low risk.
Meanwhile, interior minister Sar Kheng has issued a directive requiring any officials who may have been directly or indirectly exposed to be tested as soon as possible and strictly abide by quarantine protocols.
The order includes a temporary suspension of work at the ministry and the General Department of Prisons until further notice. Top prison officials, as well as those at the general department and ministry, must continue to work remotely online.
“Leaders, civil servants, National Police officers and guards in prisons and correctional centres who exhibit fever, cough or other symptoms, or have any suspicions related to Covid-19, do not need to come to work. Instead, they should report to relevant directors and visit the nearest hospital immediately for testing,” Sar Kheng said.
Following an announcement of Covid-19 transmission in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, the Cambodian Consulate General there warned all Cambodian citizens in the region to be vigilant with precautions by wearing a mask, frequently washing hands with soap or hand sanitiser, maintaining social distancing and following all pertinent health rules.
According to the health ministry, Cambodia has recorded 326 Covid-19 cases, since December 1 with 304 patients having recovered. The remaining 22 are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and Chak Angre health centre in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.
On the same day, three more patients were discharged from hospital.