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Three migrant workers return from Thailand with Indian Covid variant

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Returning migrant workers at O’Smach border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province on May 6, 2021. IOM

Three migrant workers return from Thailand with Indian Covid variant

The Ministry of Health announced three cases of the B.1.617 strain of the novel coronavirus, a global variant of concern, among three Cambodian migrant workers returning from Thailand through O’Smach border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province.

The cases involve two women aged 27 and 43 and a 46-year-old man and were detected following genome-sequencing tests conducted by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said in a press statement on the evening of June 4.

The trio are receiving treatment at hospitals in Oddar Meanchey and Battambang province, he said.

The minister added that the B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the pathogen that causes Covid-19 – has been detected in seven Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

“The Ministry of Health immediately instructed all health departments and relevant institutions to be more alert and strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures to prevent person-to-person transmission of the disease by placing patients in separate areas,” Bun Heng said.

Authorities must remain on the lookout for other suspicious cases of the highly infectious coronavirus variant first identified in India, tracking those who have been near the three infected individuals, he said.

Bun Heng emphasised that the ministry will keep reminding people to abide by the recommended preventive practices and other health and administrative measures introduced by sub-national level authorities, in a bid to prevent a large-scale community transmission.

Cambodia detected its first case of the B.1.617 variant on May 11, in a passenger on an incoming flight who had already recovered from Covid-19.

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