Citing global observations, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said between 10 and 15 per cent of recovered Covid-19 patients could relapse, though its chances of transmission are very low.
Vandine said that 2.6 per cent of Cambodia’s recovered Covid-19 patients, or nine in total, had experienced a recurrence of the infection.
She explained, however, that the communicability of the illness was much lowers in patients whose symptoms recurred than among those who had contracted it for the first time.
“Nevertheless, we are advised that Covid-19 patients who have recovered should continue to be isolated for 14 days with follow-up health checks. Patients must not be allowed to go out for personal meetings, shaking hands or making contact with others, and they must always carry out preventive measures,” Vandine stated.
She said that when patients receive treatment and fight the disease with a healthy diet and rest, their bodies can strengthen and overcome it. She claimed, however, that the effects might recede because the virus had fallen dormant.
“These factors can lead to patients testing negative for Covid-19. But some day, the virus might re-activate and when testing, it virus will be detected again. We call this a relapse. But the virus that returned is not the same as it was the first time – its effects are less serious than before,” Vandine said.
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng explained that private recruitment agencies and relevant officials had been notified to halt sending workers to Thailand until further notice.
He noted that Cambodian workers who need to return home from Thailand must choose one of three open international border checkpoints at O’Smach, Dong or Poipet. The government has prepared these facilities for health checks to protect officials, the returning workers and their family members.
Sam Heng also called on Cambodian migrant workers who remain in Thailand to stay calm and trust in the competence of local authorities to manage, prevent and treat Covid-19. He recommended they not relocate their homes or places of work from one province to another in contravention of lockdowns imposed by Thai authorities.
Net Sary, Cambodian consul-general in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, said on December 22 that a total of 551 Cambodian people had left Thailand on December 20, returning via the nine international and regional gateways that were then open.
Battambang provincial spokesman Suos Sopheak told The Post that he had yet to learn the number of migrant workers returning from Thailand on December 22, but over the two previous days, there had been 31 people return, and they were sent to quarantine facilities for 14 days.
“The situation in Battambang province along the border is good because authorities and health officials conduct health checks and monitoring attentively and regularly,” he said.
Koh Kong provincial spokesman Mom Malika said that from December 20-22, no migrant workers had left Thailand for Koh Kong, but provincial administration and health officials were prepared to accommodate arrivals as necessary as per guidance by the prime minister and health ministry.
Oddar Meanchey Provincial Hall spokesman Chea Piseth said that 176 migrant workers returned from Thailand through the O’Smach international checkpoint on December 21, followed by 200 more on December 22. Authorities and health officials conducted Covid-19 testing of all returning citizens and sent them to quarantine.
The prime minister and health ministry distributed an additional 6,000 aid kits to needy workers in the three border provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Oddar Meanchey. The kits included mosquito nets, pillows, mats, tents and chairs.
On December 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through the Cambodian Embassy in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, facilitated the repatriation of 21 Cambodian workers, including monks and nuns.
On the same day, two more Covid-19 patients were deemed to have recovered and were released from treatment.
A 32 year-old Cambodian woman living in Chbar Ampov district’s Veal Sbov commune had been infected in conjunction with the November 28 community transmission event. After two negative test results, she was discharged from the hospital.
The other patient was a 75 year-old Cambodian man living in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Thmei commune. He had been a passenger arriving from China.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cambodia has diagnosed 363 Covid-19 cases of which 347 patients have recovered and 16 continue to receive treatment.
Also on December 22, UNICEF announced that it would be able to transport up to 850 tonnes of Covid-19 vaccines per month next year, depending on their availability, according to a new global assessment. This would amount to more than double the average weight of vaccines UNICEF currently transports each month.
Cambodia is one of the countries to which UNICEF will deliver vaccines, under the leadership of the Royal Government and in close partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
UNICEF plans to facilitate delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in 92 low and lower-middle-income countries on behalf of the COVAX Facility and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization.
“This is a mammoth and historic undertaking,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. “The scale of the task is daunting, and the stakes have never been higher, but we are ready to take this on.”
UNICEF reports that current commercial air cargo capacity would be sufficient to deliver vaccines for 20 per cent of the populations of almost all of the targeted 92 countries at an estimated cost of US$70 million. Currently, 190 economies are participating in the COVAX Facility.