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Seven more migrants test positive

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Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Oum Reatrey visit migrants in quarantine on Saturday. Banteay Meanchey Administration

Seven more migrants test positive

The Ministry of Health on January 20 confirmed seven new cases of Covid-19 in migrant workers who recently returned from Thailand.

In a press release, the ministry said five of the migrants returned on January 17 and the other two on January 6.

The two had been quarantined in Banteay Meanchey province before their second test administered by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) came back positive. They are being treated at the provincial referral hospital.

Of the five migrant workers who returned on January 17, two are from Takeo province and three from Banteay Meanchey. They are being treated at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Referral Hospital.

The latest cases bring the Kingdom’s Covid-19 tally to 448 with 392 recoveries. Of the 56 still hospitalised, 49 are migrant workers retuning from Thailand.

According to the ministry’s January 20 press release, the latest recoveries include six migrant workers who have been discharged from hospital after their second test came back negative.

Meanwhile, ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said the ministry had asked technicians from the Chinese firm Sinopharm to provide training on Covid-19 jabs and storage.

In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had accepted the offer of one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from China.

Vandine said: “The ministry’s working group has sent a request to Prime Minister Hun Sen suggesting that the vaccine distribution be made at hospitals to ensure safety, or at places designated by the prime minister.”

She noted that the ministry’s National Immunisation Programme has been using a vaccine storage facility capable of maintaining a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius. Therefore, the ministry is well-equipped to receive the one million doses.

She added that the vaccination must be carried out by well-trained health workers at public hospitals or health facilities.

Separately on January 18, health minister Mam Bunheng met Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Cambodia chief representative Haruko Kamei to discuss the Covid-19 situation.

Vandine told reporters after the meeting that Kamei praised the Cambodian government and the ministry for their great efforts in preventing the spread of Covid-19, which made foreign travellers feel safe to enter the country.

She said Kamei spoke highly of the preventive measures, which she experienced herself during the 14-day quarantine upon her arrival in Cambodia.

“JICA chief representative in Cambodia supported [Cambodia’s] measures to prevent the Covid-19 transmission in our country,” she said.

She said JICA has also expressed its willingness to help the healthcare sector in the fight against Covid-19, where they mentioned the financing provision in the form of loans that could be discussed.

Vandine said the loan could be in the range of $250 to $300 million, but the decision rests with the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

She said the loan could be used for upgrading the infrastructure and facilities of provincial hospitals.

“We may select hospitals in some provinces to increase capacity building, upgrade facilities to modern standards and strengthening the capacity of medical professionals at provincial hospitals to be on par with the national level.

At the meeting, Vandine said the minister also requested a grant from JICA to give laboratory assistance in the Covid-19 context to Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham provincial referral hospital.

Bunheng also asked JICA to continue helping to train human resources, especially in upgrading medical professionals’ skills to provide effective health services to Cambodians.

Kamei said she would consider the requests.

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