Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China.
The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of the virus finding its way into Cambodia. He said the authorities have increased security at the main border crossings and airports to keep the disease out.
There are still no documented cases of the virus in Cambodia.
Hun Sen urged Cambodians to adopt several measures, including wearing face masks, washing hands with alcohol or soap, and avoiding contact with people suffering from flu-like symptoms (such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing, headaches and high fever).
He also said they must only consume properly cooked food.
The prime minister told the people to refrain from entering into contact with livestock or livestock farms.
“To stop the spread of this brutal infection, the Ministry of Health has installed screening equipment to monitor all tourists coming to Cambodia.
“Brothers and sisters, please be careful, especially if you travel to places where the virus has been reported. If you suspect that you may be infected, please contact a doctor, go to a hospital, or call the emergency number  immediately,” Hun Sen said in a Facebook post.
The Ministry of Health on Sunday issued a statement instructing citizens to avoid close contact with patients suffering from infections of the respiratory tract or who have visited the Huanan seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease originated.
The ministry also asked people to wash their hands after touching animals and to cook meat and eggs thoroughly before consuming it. It told the public to cover their nostrils and mouthwith a krama, handkerchief or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
“The Ministry of Health would like to call on passengers who have been to Wuhan to be particularly cautious. If you have coughing, fever or difficulty breathing, please see a doctor immediately,” it said.
Ministry spokesman Or Vandine told The Post that the ministry has installed screening equipment at all three international airports – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville – and at international checkpoints in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet, Svay Rieng’s Bavet, and Kampot’s Prek Chak.
“Besides that, we have instructed doctors in the capital and in the provinces, especially those near the border, to be particularly careful.
“The ministry has also prepared quarantine rooms at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital, and Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital,” she said.
“Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng and I have been to the checkpoints to check the equipment. The medicine needed in case of infection is ready,” she said.
Pen Baraing, a Cambodian studying in Wuhan city, told The Post on Sunday that he is not allowed to leave the city after a lockdown was imposed last week. He and the other 20 Cambodian students in the central Chinese city are receiving support from the Cambodian Embassy in Beijing.
“We are all in contact through WeChat, supporting each other. My mother is very worried. I am her only child.
“The embassy in Beijing is giving us counsel. The different student associations are also giving us their support, as is His Excellency Hun Manet,” Baraing said.
The South China Morning Post reported that, as of Sunday, 56 people had died from the coronavirus in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. The number of cases has now reached 2,077 people across the world, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia and the US.