Infected Returning Migrant Workers All Women due to Traveling in Groups

The photo shows health officials are administering COVID-19 testing for migrant workers returning from Thailand. Photo from Battambang Provincial Health Department.

Noting that the exodus of Cambodian migrant workers from Thailand has seen only Cambodian women contracting COVID-19, Pailin Provincial Governor Ban Sreymom suggested it’s because women travel in groups.



PHNOM PENH--As all of the latest COVID-19 infections involve only women migrant workers who returned from Thailand, Pailin Provincial Governor Ban Sreymom has attempted to rationalize this infection trend.



As of Jan. 5, the Cambodian Health Ministry reported that 17 migrant workers have contracted COVID-19, but all are women aged between 20 and 30.



When asked why only women have been infected in the latest string of COVID-19 cases, Sreymom explained that women migrant workers often travel together in a group and this has put them at a higher risk of infection.



“Our women migrant workers normally travel from Thailand in a group of five and they also work together and then they come back home together,” Sreymom said.



 “That’s why they get infected as a group.”



Sreymom went on to say that the women workers have also had close contact through eating as well as sharing working and living spaces.



According to Keo Vanthan, spokesman for the General Immigration Department, at the Ministry of Interior, between Dec. 20, 2020 and Jan. 3, 2021, there had been a total of 3,616 Cambodians returning from Thailand following the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Samut Sakhon Province.



Contacted on Tuesday (Jan.5), Or Vandine, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, also agreed that traveling in group without keeping a proper space between them is likely a main factor that drives more infections among women.



“It is not difficult to understand as our women migrant workers generally travel together. They most frequently have other women accompanying them,” Vandine said.  



Among 17 patients, 11 people are residents in Pailin Province and six others are from Battambang Province. All of them have been placed under treatment at their respective referral hospitals. 



As of Jan. 5, Cambodia has recorded 382 cases of the virus nationwide, with 362 of those having since recovered and no deaths have been officially linked to COVID-19.


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