The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets.
In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old man went to work in Malaysia on July 15 via Thailand and returned to Cambodia via the Poipet border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrov district.
Once confirmed Covid-19 negative after his arrival on July 19, the provincial health department allowed him to continue his quarantine in his home province of Tbong Khmum.
The man died at 7:30pm on Wednesday. Citing the accounts of his older brother who regularly visited him while under quarantine, provincial health officials said the man had had a cold for a few days prior to his death.
He told his brother to buy five types of drugs including Paracetamol 500mg, Dexamethasone 4mg, Chlorpheniramine 4mg, Tetracycline 250mg and Moxy Cold.
Health officials said the man took the tablets, which were brought to him at mealtime, without their knowledge. After taking the drugs, the man had breathing difficulties, dizziness and lost consciousness despite emergency treatment.
Health officials said the man was buried overnight to avoid possible virus transmission while his samples were sent to the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh for Covid-19 testing.
The result came out negative at 6pm on Thursday, leading health officials to initially conclude that the man died either from syncope or overdose.
The man’s sister, Saly Khor, told The Post on Thursday that she learned of her brother’s deteriorating condition not long before his death.
“I was told on the phone that my brother fainted and was rushed to the hospital. But when I was ready to visit him, I made a phone call to check on his conditions, only to find he had died.
“When I went to see my brother, he was not at the hospital but lay dead at the quarantine centre,” she said.
Khor said the family regularly brought him food while under quarantine in Tbong Khmum.
She said her brother had gone to work in Malaysia for nearly 10 years and never had a history of chronic diseases. Before his death, she said he could play football with other people who are under quarantine at the centre.
Tbong Khmum provincial health department director Keo Vannak could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
But he told Fresh News that the “Cambodian-Muslim” man died at the quarantine centre after being kept there for three days along with 10 other people.
Vannak said forensic experts had gone there to carry out an examination and concluded that the man died after fainting.