A New Case of COVID-19 that May Be Due to Local Transmission Is Identified in Cambodia

A woman wears a face mask, amid concerns over a spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, as she walks past a closed primary school in Phnom Penh on November 12, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

The patient does not seem to have recently travelled outside the country

PHNOM PENH--The Ministry of Health Sunday (Nov. 29) announced that seven new cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) had been identified—six of which likely to involve local transmission.

“A 56-year-old woman, who lives in Siem Reap City and in Borey Peng Huoth on 60-Meter Road [in Phnom Penh] and had had influenza symptoms for three days, was tested positive for the COVID-19,” Or Vandine, Health Ministry’s spokesperson said in a press statement.

According to the ministry, the woman does not seem to have travelled outside the country and, since she and the six members of her family have contracted the disease, this may be the first case of local transmission since late April this year. 

As Vandine explained, the other patients consist of the woman’s husband, who is director general of the General Department of Prisons at the Ministry of Interior, along with four other family members—a 36-year-old woman, a 36-year-old man, a 30-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy. They now are under treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh.

Another case of the coronavirus was also recently identified. A 31-year-old Cambodian-American woman who lives in Pailin Province and arrived in Cambodia on Nov. 27 from the United States via South Korea tested positive for COVID-19, Vandine said.

The 56 other passengers aboard her flight have tested negative but have been required to undertake a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine, she said.

In the meantime, two COVID-19 patients were reported to have made a complete recovery, and been released from hospital, the ministry’s spokesperson said. 

These latest cases have brought to 315 the number of cases nationwide with 301 patients having recovered from the disease and 14 under care.

Contact tracing carried out to prevent community transmission

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Nov. 28 ordered the local and health authorities to undertake contact tracing in order to identify those having been in direct or indirect contact with the 56-year-old woman, her husband and family members.  

The director general of the General Department of Prisons of the Ministry of Interior had direct and indirect contact with a number of people including senior government officials.  Moreover, he also traveled to Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces.

The prime minister called on the people involved to stay home and avoid getting out of quarantine in order to prevent community transmission.  

Prior to testing positive for COVID-19, the 56-year-old woman on Nov. 21 had visited Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh, according to Health Ministry spokesperson Vandine. The mall has since been ordered by the authorities to close for a few days in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, she said.

*The article has been modified to correct the locations where the director general of the General Department of Prisons of the Ministry of Interior had been to. He only traveled to Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey. 


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