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Ministry: Covid-19 cases now at 37 as 1,122 tested

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Motorists protect themselves with face masks as they drive along a busy road in the capital on Tuesday. The Ministry of Health on Wednesday recorded four new cases of Covid-19 infections, bringing the total to 37. Hong Menea

Ministry: Covid-19 cases now at 37 as 1,122 tested

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday recorded four new cases of Covid-19 infections, bringing the total to 37.

At a press conference at the Office of the Council of Ministers earlier on Wednesday, ministry spokesperson Or Vandine said so far tests had been conducted on 1,122 people, of which 35 had been found positive – two more from Tuesday.

However, by night time, another two cases were tested positive, upping the tally by four by the end of the day.

Two of the four infected persons are Malaysians aged 60 and 64. Their test results came out positive at midnight on Tuesday. Both are being treated at the Kampot provincial hospital.

The other two are Cambodian Muslim men who were among 79 others who recently returned from a religious event in Malaysia. Aged 71 and 52, they are from Tbong Khmum province and being treated at the provincial hospital there.

All 37 Covid-19 patients – foreigners and Cambodians – are receiving treatment in the capital and across 11 other provinces.

The majority of Cambodians were diagnosed with Covid-19 after attending the Muslim religious event that has since turned out to be the national epicentre of the coronavirus infections in Malaysia. The Cambodians returned to the Kingdom in early March.

The ministry said so far, infections were not spreading across communities, but there was a risk this could happen.

On Wednesday, Vandine reiterated that the government would cover the cost of all Covid-19 tests.

However, she said such testing is unnecessary if a person had no symptoms of the disease, had not travelled to any location where the coronavirus had spread or had been in contact with an infected person.

“We did not charge any of the 1,112 patients a single cent. The government has borne the entire burden.

“Some people say those who tested positive are not charged, but those who test negative are charged. I’ll make it clear – no one is being charged, regardless of the test results.

“I wish to inform the public that those suspected of having Covid-19 will be tested by doctors and the ministry’s Emergency Response Team or provincial health department free of charge. If you are concerned, please contact the doctor first.

“Of course we are worried about our health, but if you have not been exposed and have no symptoms, the result would almost certainly be negative.

“So please only get tested if you have symptoms, have travelled to a coronavirus-infected area or have been in direct contact with an infected person. Also, testing negative today does not mean that you will not be infected with the coronavirus forever.

“If the test is negative today and you get exposed to it tomorrow, then your next test may be positive. Therefore we need to take measures to protect ourselves. But if you have no symptoms or have not been exposed today, you do not need to test,” she stressed.

In its Facebook post on Wednesday, the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department (CDC) said while Covid-19 testing was free of charge, hospitals may charge a routine consultation fee.

Vandine urged the public to exercise caution. She said the current protective measures to prevent the spread of the virus starts with individuals.

“It’s simple – wash hands with soap for one minute. For anyone travelling, they should practice the highest levels of hygiene, wash hands with soap or alcohol regularly and do not touch your face with your hands.

“Also, ensure all meals are thoroughly cooked. Individuals must participate to protect themselves,” she stressed.

Vandine said without public participation, other measures such as a ban on gathering at various venues including theatres and karaoke parlours, would not be effective.

As an additional measure to prevent the spread of the disease, the ministry has ordered all public concerts suspended from March 17 until further notice.

Following its directive, the Ministry of the Royal Palace has also suspended all palace visits from March 18 until further notice.

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