Cambodia: One more Covid-19 case; all inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

  • AseanPlus News
  • Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020

All inbound flights from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled starting August 1. - The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network

PHNOM PENH, July 28 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): Cambodia on Tuesday confirmed a new imported Covid-19 case, raising the total number of infections in the country to 226, said a Health Ministry's statement.

And the Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1.

The Covid-19 positive case was detected on a 32-year-old Indian man, who arrived in Cambodia on Sunday from India via connecting flights in Malaysia and South Korea, the statement said.

"The man tested positive for the Covid-19 on Monday and currently, he has been hospitalised at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in capital Phnom Penh for treatment," it said.

According to the statement, the remaining 89 passengers, who are on the same flight with the Indian man from South Korea to Phnom Penh, have been placed under a 14-day mandatory quarantine at various quarantine centres in the capital.

Cambodia on Sunday decided to temporarily suspend flights from Malaysia and Indonesia after the kingdom had seen a remarkable spike in imported Covid-19 cases through these flights.

The suspension will take effect from Aug 1, 2020 onwards until further notice, said a Heath Ministry's statement.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in the statement that Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen approved the suspension after Cambodia had recorded 108 Covid-19 cases imported to the kingdom through flights from Malaysia and Indonesia from June 20 to July 25.

Cambodia has so far recorded a total of 226 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 147 patients cured and 79 remained in hospital.

Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as most Cambodians who travelled home from the US, France, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Egypt and Mali came through them, and caused a spike in Covid-19 cases.

She was responding to critics who questioned why only flights from Malaysia and Indonesia were temporarily axed but not those from China when an aviation company claimed it had the most flights to Cambodia.

Vandine also said: “Currently, the global pandemic has not yet abated. We observed that a large number of countries didn’t carry out measures to test passengers before allowing them on board planes. So, this is a risk.

“When a passenger is positive for the virus, the plane carrying it and passes it on to other individuals on the aircraft. In other words, it can pass from one country to another and from one area to another.”

She said the temporary cancellation of flights serves to ensure the safety of Cambodians.

“The cancellations serve to mitigate the risk of infections in Cambodia and reduce the possibility of community transmission.

It is difficult for individuals, but it will be even more difficult if infection cases in the country increase, ” she said.

In the past, the government suspended six fights from the US, Germany, Italy, Spain and Iran, and Vandine stressed that the ministry was monitoring other flights too with the utmost care.

“Given the actual situation, when we observe infection cases rising, the ministry will have a discussion and propose a request to the head of the government for approval, ” she said.

Starting from next month, citizens will observe many national holidays. In August, a five-day break is planned for Khmer New Year. The Pchum Ben festival follows in September and the Water Festival will be held in late October.

During the holidays, the Ministry of Health is concerned that Covid-19 could enter communities when citizens take trips to tourist destinations and visit their relatives in their hometowns if measures aren’t implemented first. - The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network

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