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Minister: No fees for Covid rapid tests throughout Kingdom

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Medical workers administering rapid tests in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sangke commune on Wednesday. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Minister: No fees for Covid rapid tests throughout Kingdom

The Ministry of Health has instructed municipal and provincial referral hospitals and other state health facilities not to charge any fees to citizens who come to take Covid-19 antigen rapid tests.

In a directive dated August 4, health minister Mam Bun Heng said: “As announced during the launch of the vaccination campaign for children and adolescents on August 1, Covid-19 rapid tests for Cambodian people are free of charge at all state medical facilities.”

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang told The Post on August 4 that all state health centres in his province were already providing tests free of charge.

“From the beginning, we’ve never charged fees. With this new directive, I will announce this to the people as a reminder,” he said.

He warned that any public health workers who charge fees for the service will face the law and potentially be investigated the Anti-Corruption Unit.

In Kampong Speu, there are between 90 and 300 people tested every day at different health centres across the province, mostly because they have symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person.

Since many people in the province have now been vaccinated, the number of new transmission cases has dropped and rapid tests have helped the province stem the spread, he said.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn also said his province has not charged any money to people who came to be tested. “We’ve already implemented this policy, including vaccinations and rapid tests.

“Now, with the popular use of social media like Facebook, no one can get away with corruption like that. If there is a report about such a case, we will address it and return the money. And those who charge any money will face the law,” he said.

Separately, the health ministry corrected the number of Delta variant cases detected in Cambodia to date. In an announcement dated August 3, it said there had actually been a total of 260 Delta cases confirmed since March 31, including the 36 latest cases detected on August 3.

The ministry said the most recent 36 cases were found on eight medical workers and 28 ordinary citizens in the capital and three provinces – five in Phnom Penh, nine in Oddar Meanchey, 18 in Siem Reap and four in Kampong Thom.

In Siem Reap, all but one case was found in villagers from Siem Reap town, Angkor Chum and Sotr Nikum districts. The one remaining case was a healthcare worker.

The ministry also corrected the number of cases announced on August 2 from 109 to 110. The total figure is now 260.

“The above figure indicates that the Delta variant is spreading in the community, especially in Oddar Meanchey, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and in some other provinces,” it said.

The health minister reiterated his call for the public to avoid close contact settings and high-risk places and avoid any large gatherings like parties or ceremonies.

In the capital’s Tuol Kork district, the authorities tested 340 vendors at the Phsar Doeum Kor market after a Delta variant patient went shopping there, but all of their tests came back negative. The market is being disinfected and will be closed until August 6, said Phsar Doeum Kor commune chief Tit Samoeun.

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