Labour Ministry Performs 1,018 Health Checks on Returning Garment Workers

Spokesman for the Ministry of Labour says just 1,018 of the estimated 30,000 garment workers retuning from festive travels have been checked for COVID-19 symptoms. Photo: His Facebook page.
  • Phoung Vantha
  • April 21, 2020 7:24 AM

As some 30,000 garment workers return from Khmer New Year celebrations, the Ministry of Labour admits to having checked the health of 1,018 of them. 

PHNOM PENH--The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said that 1,018 garment and footwear workers have been quarantined for 14 days as of April 21. This comes after some 30,000 garment workers traveled around the country for Khmer New Year, despite the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The Labour Ministry has since vowed to ensure that all returning workers undergo 14 days of quarantine before heading back to the factories.

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said that by 7:40 p.m. on Monday evening, the ministry had performed health checks on 1,018 factory workers who had returned from Khmer New Year celebrations.

Sour noted that 959 of the returning garment workers had been allowed to travel to rented rooms across Phnom Penh where they will self-isolatefor 14 days. The remaining 59 workers have been placed in a makeshift quarantine at Champuvoin High School in Phnom Penh.

The school has been divided into two levels for quarantine purposes. The first level allows for two-people per room, whereas the second level will hold only one-person in each room.

Of the 59 Cambodians quarantined at the school, Sour said that 38 are staying in the first level and sharing rooms, while 21 had been quarantined in individual rooms on the second level. Sour went on to add that 18 samples had been taken from the Cambodians on the second level of the school and that the Pasteur Institute was analyzing the samples presently.

He added that Sihanoukville also set up two health checkpoints and 60 people were quarantined at their home.  

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said that around 30,000 garments and footwear workers – about 2 percent of all Cambodians employed in garments manufacturing – took annual leave and traveled across the country during the Khmer New Year celebrations. Sour noted that 15,000 were returning to Phnom Penh where they would be quarantined.

He added that health checks and quarantine procedures would continue until all it can be confirmed that all returning garment workers are healthy.

On April 20 during their weekly press conference, the Ministry of Health, along with Dr. Li Ailan of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Laurence Baril of the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh warned that Cambodia is still only in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 9,792 COVID-19 tests conducted by the Ministry of Health, these were spread across fewer than 6,000 people Dr. Baril explained. 

Meanwhile Dr. Ailan of the WHO called upon the Ministry of Health to aggressively increase testing, as well as improve contact tracing. She said that the ministry should be reaching out to find active cases.

As of April 21, Cambodia has reported just 122 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 110 have made a full recovery.


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