Cambodia Confirms Nine New Cases of COVID-19 Linked to Religious Ceremonies in Malaysia

A policeman (C) and people wear facemasks, used as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, at a market in Phnom Penh on March 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
  • Sao Phal Niseiy
  • March 17, 2020 2:35 PM

On Tuesday alone, Cambodia recorded 21 new cases of the novel coronavirus with all patients seemingly linked by travel to Malaysia.

PHNOM PENH--Cambodia Tuesday night identified nine news cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with all the newly identified cases being linked to a religious journey to Malaysia, according to the Ministry of Health. All new cases have since been quarantined.

“The Ministry of Health would like to inform the public that the confirmation from Pasteur Institute indicated that there are an additional nine new cases of COVID-19 in Cambodia,” the ministry said in a statement. 

According to the ministry, the new cases have been found across the country, with one 40-year-old man in Siem Reap, a 27-year-old man and a 40-year-old man in Phnom Penh, one 36-year-old man in Kampong Chhnang, three people aged 56, 61 and 66 in Kep, one 57-year-old man in Koh Kong and one 53-year-old man in Tboung Khmum. 

All of whom are among 79 people who returned to Cambodia after participating in religious events held in Malaysia. The three cases in Kep have been identified as Malaysian nationals, while the other six from tonight’s caseload are confirmed as being Khmer-Muslims. 

This brings Cambodia’s total number of cases to 33 following the discovery this morning of 12 new COVID-19 cases, 11 of which were also Khmer-Muslims who had attended ceremonies in Malaysia.

These latest cases come as the Cambodian government today issued stricter preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus nationwide, including the closure of all KTVs and movie theaters across the country, as well as banning all kinds of religious gatherings and concerts.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport also announced that all schools across the country would be closed until further notice.

Meanwhile, Laotian authorities appear to have found 79 suspected cases of the novel coronavirus earlier this evening, although at press time little is known about the origin of these cases or whether they are linked to religious activities. As recently as March 16, Lao PDR had maintained that it had no confirmed cases of the virus.  

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