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Ministry of Health refutes ‘false’ Vietnam virus reports

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Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said in the press conference in May 04, 2020. Hong Menea

Ministry of Health refutes ‘false’ Vietnam virus reports

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng on Wednesday criticised Vietnam for its claims based on a local news report that a Vietnamese youth who tested positive for Covid-19 had come from Cambodia.

Bun Heng told The Post on Wednesday that the Vietnamese youth did not travel from Cambodia to Vietnam as reported.

He blamed the Vietnamese government for not following the principal of sharing such information through the existing ASEAN framework.

“The Vietnamese side didn’t provide Cambodia with the information as to where the man departed from. Normally, we have the [ASEAN] communications systems to share information regarding the pandemic. The information should not be reported in a newspaper like this.

“We have the information systems to formally follow up [on the disease] and provide information to each other so we know who they [a potential Covid-19 patient] are, where they’re staying and where they travelled from,” he said.

The VnExpress online newspaper on Monday quoted the Vietnamese Ministry of Health as saying that an 18-year-old Vietnamese youth residing in Thuong Phuoc commune, Hong Ngu district, Dong Thap province, which borders Prey Veng province in Cambodia, tested positive for Covid-19 on June 7.

The newspaper claimed the youth had been kept in quarantine at a health centre after arriving at the Thuong Phuoc border checkpoint from Cambodia on May 25. He tested positive for Covid-19 as his quarantine was about to end.

VnExpress last month also reported that another Vietnamese man was infected with Covid-19 after leaving Siem Reap province for Vietnam.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health denied the report and said it gravely affected the county’s efforts to contain the pandemic.

After the incident, the ministry requested that the Vietnamese side follow technical standards, principles and international regulations before reporting news about the virus to avoid affecting Cambodia’s image.

In response, Vietnamese ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh said his government never confirmed that its citizen who got Covid-19 had come from Cambodia.

He said the news report did not state the time or location of the infection.

As of Wednesday, 125 out of the 126 Covid-19 patients in Cambodia have recovered.

In Vietnam, 317 of its 332 Covid-19 patients had also recovered, while the other 17 remained hospitalised.

Both countries have reported no deaths due to Covid-19.

Last month, the Cambodian embassy in Vietnam informed Cambodian students, military trainees and police that Vietnam would allow them to return to their duties after being kept in quarantine.

But Tay Ninh provincial authorities said there was no space left for Cambodian students to be kept in quarantine, while Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training are looking at other potential quarantine facilities near Tay Ninh.

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