Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeated his call on the public to remain vigilant and adhere to safety practices recommended by health experts to prevent a second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The appeal comes after the Ministry of Health confirmed two imported cases last week.
Through his official Facebook page on Sunday, Hun Sen reiterated that Covid-19 is a “brutal” disease that has spread to at least 216 countries around the world, infecting more than five million people and claiming over 300,000 lives.
He urged people to refrain from non-essential travel, avoid crowded places, maintain social distancing and follow good hygiene practices.
“If you are suspicious of [Covid-19], please call 115. Make sure you don’t transmit the virus to others, avoid contracting it from others and passing it on to your families.
“Don’t travel if it’s not necessary, especially places with many people. Please listen and follow the health ministry’s guidance constantly,” he said.
Last week, the health ministry confirmed the first two new cases of Covid-19 in more than a month, bringing the total number to 124. Among them, 122 have been discharged from hospital.
The latest case was found in a 39-year-old Cambodian woman who had recently returned from the US through a connecting flight in South Korea.
The woman, from Teuk Thla commune in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, landed in New York City, one of the US’ coronavirus hotspots, in February, but had been stranded there amid border closures due to the pandemic.
Upon her return to Cambodia on May 8, the woman self-quarantined and was not confirmed Covid-19 positive until a second test on Friday.
Citing official information it received from South Korean authorities on May 11, the Cambodian health ministry said the woman had come into direct contact with a South Korean national who also returned from the US.
The South Korean passenger was confirmed Covid-19 positive upon arrival in his home country.
In a press release, ministry spokesperson Or Vandine said the two were among a total of 68 passengers, 20 of them women.
Of the number, 30 are Cambodians, 33 Koreans and the rest were Russian, Swiss and Austrian.
Vandine said the ministry had worked with the World Health Organisation, the US’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Institut Pasteur du Cambodge and other relevant authorities to trace those who may have had contact with the pair.
Among their 66 fellow passengers, she said 52 were at low risk of infection while the remaining 14 were at “medium” risk. However, none was found to have health problems.
Vandine stressed that the ministry had also taken samples from the Cambodian woman’s husband for testing, which came out negative.
“The only person who is at highest risk of infection is her husband, who had direct contact with her,” she said.
Having been well aware of the contagious disease, Vandine said the woman had her husband send their two children and a nephew to their home province of Kampong Cham before she arrived.
On Thursday, another Cambodian man tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from the Philippines through a connecting flight in South Korea.
The man, a 26-year-old from Kampong Trach commune in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district, was travelling with 62 other passengers, 14 of them women.
Among them, 23 are Korean, three Japanese, 34 Cambodians and one each from the Netherlands, Belgium and Taiwan.
The 26-year-old is being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital while his fellow passengers are being quarantined at a hotel in Phnom Penh.
Despite the latest cases, Vandine on Sunday said Cambodia has yet to have community transmission and is taking all measures necessary to prevent it.