In its initial Covid-19 testing, the Ministry of Health said it had taken samples from 94 workers who were quarantined after taking time off during Khmer New Year.

They are among the roughly 15,000 workers who are subject to mandatory quarantine administered by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Ly Sovann told The Post on Thursday that the 94 workers’ samples it had received from the labour ministry on Thursday tested negative.

“We have tested 94 samples as of 2pm on Thursday, and all were negative,” he said, adding that testing is ongoing.

In its daily press bulletin, the labour ministry said from April 20-23, a total of 2,850 workers had gone through health checks at 10 quarantine centres in Phnom Penh – 1,018 on Monday, 1,221 on Tuesday, 516 on Wednesday and 95 on Thursday.

Labour ministry spokesperson Heng Sour told The Post on Thursday that workers suspected of having contracted the virus were required to isolate themselves at Quarantine Centre 2 (QC2).

All the samples were to be sent to Institut Pasteur du Cambodge for testing. If the results came out negative, they would be allowed to leave the centre, he said.

“As mentioned in the press release, if they are allowed to leave the quarantine centre, it means their tests have returned as negative,” he said.

San Laos, a factory worker who was isolated at Quarantine Centre 1 (QC1) in Hun Sen Champuvorn High School in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, said she was allowed to return home on Tuesday after testing negative.

She said because her health condition was normal, she was not required to take further tests.

“I stayed at QC1 for one night and two days. Food and accommodation were good. Six people shared a room and returned home on the same day after testing negative,” she said.

Dr Hen Pheareak, an expert in respiratory tract infections, told The Post on Thursday that keeping workers in quarantine was the right measure against community infections. He expressed hope that the government would continue with it.

“Containing Covid-19 at this stage is a matter of pride. A number of patients have recovered. None have died. But we must not be complacent and relent in our fight against it because the virus spreads from person to person.

“The virus is also known to mutate, so we are not sure whether it can be stopped,” he said.

Pheareak said while Cambodia was yet to have the law on a state of emergency, the government should continue imposing a ban on mass gathering and appeal to the people to be vigilant and practice high standards of hygiene.

If Cambodia has a second outbreak, the results could be beyond expectations, he said.