The Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh has rejected media reports that one of its citizens who tested positive for Covid-19 in Vietnam had carried the disease from Cambodia.
The VnExpress report had drawn the ire of Cambodian health officials, who accused the online newspaper of publishing the story without any solid proof to substantiate it. They said the report undermined Cambodia’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
Through its Facebook page, the Vietnamese embassy quoted its ambassador Vu Quang Minh as saying the man was never officially confirmed to have imported the disease from Cambodia.
He said besides being confirmed Covid-19 positive, official medical records did not specify when, where and how the man contracted the virus.
“The Vietnamese side did not confirm that the Covid-19 patient carried the disease from Cambodia.
“But according to the principle of communicable disease prevention and control, Vietnam must impose quarantine measures for all suspicious cases and make public some information concerning the patient such as travel history so that those who once came into contact with him are vigilant and report the case to Vietnam’s specialist institution,” Minh said.
Minh said the Vietnamese health ministry is closely collaborating and always exchanging information with its counterparts in Cambodia and other countries in the global fight against the pandemic.
To avoid miscommunication, he said he will meet with officials from Cambodia’s ministries of health, and information, to discuss the exchange of information and methods for preventing infections.
However, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Wednesday she is unaware of a meeting between the two sides. “I haven’t received such information,” she said.
The VnExpress reported on Saturday that four Vietnamese nationals returning from overseas tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 318.
It said one of the four – a 39-year-old from Tan Chau district in the southeastern province of Tay Ninh which borders Cambodia – travelled by bus from his hometown to Siem Reap on January 10 and returned to Vietnam illegally on May 2 as the borders remained closed amid the pandemic.
It said the man took a motor-taxi from the Cambodian border to his mother’s home in Tan Chau. He then reported to local police about his return and was isolated for a Covid-19 test on May 3.
His results came out negative on May 5, but he tested positive after a second test on Friday.
The report came the same day Cambodia announced that its last Covid-19 patient had been discharged from hospital.
Cambodia’s health ministry urged the Vietnamese side to comply with international technical standards and principles to prevent unsubstantiated news from affecting the Kingdom’s image.
Early last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen also took issue with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), which he said had published “bad news” about Cambodia by placing it among other European countries that could pose Covid-19 risks to Vietnam.