2020 coronavirus pandemic in Cambodia
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The first case of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was confirmed in Cambodia on 27 January 2020. According to Global Health Security Index's report in 2019, Cambodia ranked 89th out of 195 countries in preparedness for infectious disease outbreak.
|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Cambodia|
Map of provinces with coronavirus cases:
Confirmed cases reported
(as of 8 April 2020) Suspected cases reported
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||27 January 2020|
(2 months, 1 week and 5 days)
|Suspected cases‡||5,659 (as of 31 March)|
|‡Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.|
On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.
At 3 p.m, the first case had been confirmed in Sihanoukville on a 60-year-old Chinese man who arrived in 23 January from Wuhan, Hubei with his family. Three other members of his family were placed under quarantine as they did not appear to have symptoms, while he was placed in a separate room at the Preah Sihanouk Referral Hospital.
After two weeks of being treated and kept under observation, he had fully recovered, Health Ministry stated on account of testing negative for the third time by Pasteur Institute of Cambodia. The family were finally discharged and flew back to their home country on the next day as of the 80 Chinese nationals who arrived in Sihanoukville on the same flight as him, most have since returned to China, although the city of Wuhan remains under quarantine.
The cruise ship MS Westerdam was reportedly taking 1,455 passengers and 802 crew around Asia, 651 of whom were U.S citizens. The ship was previously docked in Hong Kong, around the time it was badly hit by the virus. The Westerdam arrived in Sihanoukville on 13 February after it had been turned away by four countries due to virus concerns. About 20 passengers on board, who were unwell, took clinical tests but the vast majority had their temperature taken and filled out a form. Most of these passengers then disembarked.
Of 145 Westerdam passengers who stopped in Malaysia by plane on 15 February, an 83-year-old American woman tested positive for the virus, leading to concern that other passengers may also have been infected. By only then, the remaining of 781 passengers were isolated and taken clinical tests, and still, the Westerdam was criticized as it was not designed for quarantine and the passengers were able to socialize.
A comedian based in Oregon who was hired to perform on the Westerdam was said to have flouted the quarantine by sneaking a flight back to Seattle. However, he averred that the quarantine never took place and was cleared by US CDC on both ends.
Later tests on the American woman who had already returned home showed negative as she never had carried the virus after all, US CDC stated on 6 March. While the CDC had not tested the woman directly, it was confirmed that after the patient's initial positive result, two subsequent tests came back negative. It wasn't clear why she initially tested positive for COVID-19, though CDC officials have said she might have had other respiratory illness.
The second case of the coronavirus was a 38-year-old man, a Cambodian in Siem Reap. He was among four people (three of the man's relatives and a Japanese woman) placed under quarantine at Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital, all of whom had direct contact with a Japanese man in his 40s who left Cambodia on 3 February and tested positive upon arrival in his country at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname, Aichi. Meanwhile, some 40 other people in the same city had been isolated under medical supervision since indirect contacts with the same Japanese man. The government prompted its decision to close all schools and cancelled the upcoming Songkran in the city.
The Ministry of Health confirmed the country's third case. At 4:30 p.m, a 65-year-old British woman had tested positive for the virus in Kampong Cham. She was a passenger of a cruise ship named Viking Cruise Journey, which travelled from Ho Chi Minh City to Kampong Cham City.
The woman took a flight from London straight to Hanoi on 2 March then another flight to Ho Chi Minh City with four other people, all British. Arriving to Phnom Penh on 7 March via the cruise, it was reported that a Vietnamese woman, who was seated next to the group on the plane from London, had carried the virus. The group of five were taken samples for testing. Two of them refused, claiming that they were healthy and having no symptoms, until the cruise ship reached Kampong Cham on 9 March.
Following the event, the boat had been docked to provide samples to be tested from all 29 other passengers and 34 crew and were they placed under quarantine in a hotel somewhere in the city.
Another cases of two passengers of Viking Cruise Journey were publicly confirmed at noon to have tested positive in a British man, 73 and his wife, 69, bringing up to five the confirmed cases at the time. Due to their ages, the married couple were transferred to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh.
The health officials confirmed two cases in Phnom Penh at 8 p.m sharp, tallying to seven in total. A 49-year-old Canadian and a 33-year-old Belgian were in quarantine in Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. The authorities were trying to locate those who had contacts with the patients.
For the time being, another two visitors to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (A British and his friend, a Canadian woman who worked in China) were suspected to have the symptoms and admitted to the said hospital. A British man, however, made an escape but was found later in Kampot and hospitalized there. They were tested negative, assuming it was just a fever they had. Nevertheless, their self-monitoring was needed for any changes.
Resulting from the previous day, at 12:57 p.m, MOEYS published an article, declaring that they would have to shut down all educational institutes in Phnom Penh for a while until further notice, so did an NGO of where the Belgian man had been working at.
According to Ministry of Health's press release, Cambodia announced a ban on all entries from Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the United States, thereby all visas would be undeniably suspended. This policy would be held for thirty days, effective on March 17.
Iran was added to the list of countries whose nationals were suspended entry to Cambodia, making a total of six. This would take effect on 18 March.
An additional case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Phnom Penh at 5 p.m sharp on a French man, 35. With his wife and his four-month-old baby, the family flew from Paris to Singapore on 13 March. Showing signs of fever, the authorities there took his samples for examination. To wait for the results, he wasn't allowed to go any further, however as a follow-up health checkup was presented, he was informed that he could carry on and the results would be available accordingly.
The family were off, landed at Phnom Penh International Airport on the morning of 14 March. The same day, the test came back positive. As of 15 March, the man was admitted to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital while his wife and child, were staying at home of a relative under medical supervision.
Contacts with the man were found in the plane he boarded, in total of 24 passengers (including him and his family), and another two transporters who drove them home, to be examined. At 9 p.m, a report of 4 more cases were publicized, tallied up to twelve at the end of the day. It included a 4-month-old child of the French patient, a Cambodian from France, and two Khmer Muslims, 35 and 39, who attended a mosque event near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 29 February. The ten mosque event attendees arrived at Preah Vihear (except one, who arrived at Stung Treng) on 3 March and up to 14 March, Malaysia informed that it had found the infected from that gathering. Another 8 people were continually in testing.
The closures of educational institutions had then been expanded nationwide.
At half past 9 a.m, 12 cases were publicly stated. 11 Khmer Muslims were found to be infected in various provinces. They were among 79 people returning from attending a mosque event in Malaysia. One case further referred to a Cambodian man who crossed the border from Thailand in Banteay Meanchey.
In response to Vietnam's unilaterally shutting down borders with Cambodia without prior notice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced to suspend all border crossings with Vietnam for a month-long period with the exception of diplomats and official passport holders. The measure would take effect on 20 March to avert inconvenience quarantine requirements for both nations.
It was reported that Thailand unilaterally closed Cambodian-Thai provincial border crossing, An Ses-Preah Vihear.
The government had established a national committee for combating the COVID-19, it had duties to set national policy and strategy related to the fight against the COVID-19 and control the impact of the virus on politics, economy, and society at national and international levels. The committee was obliged to direct the implementation of the strategic plan in preventing, containing and controlling the spread of the virus.
Ten more cases were detected: two wives of the infected men, two more tabligh attendees, and six Malaysians.
The Ministry of Health announced an additional 4 confirmed cases: a Malaysian, and three Cambodians, one of whom was infected from an attendee from Malaysia and had no recent travel record overseas.
Two more cases were confirmed at 9 p.m, a 67-year-old and an 80-year-old Frenchmen who arrived Sihanoukville as tourists on 18 March. 37 people suspected to have contacts with were put under quarantine.
Having tested negative for a few times, a 65-year-old patient, British woman was reported that she fully recovered. She was said to be discharged later that day.
After bilateral meetings between Cambodia and Thailand was resulted in agreement upon closing all borders starting from 23 March for 14 days. An exception was made at Poipet-Aranyaprathet border crossing where only heavy-duty trucks were allowed under strict conditions. 
At 10 p.m, more 29 people linked in the same tourist group of the cases confirmed the previous night, plus two Cambodian guides were detected of the virus. The tourist group arrived Cambodia on March 11, visiting four provinces. As the tour ended in Sihanoukville on 18 March, the group had stayed in Independence Hotel and was scheduled to depart from Phnom Penh on 21 March.
At 19:30, three new cases were recorded to include a mother of a 4-month-old child whom she and her infant had been placed under treatment at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital and other two Cambodians.
Human Rights Watch said that the Cambodian government was using the Covid-19 outbreak to crack down on opposition. 17 people, including four members of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), had been arrested since January because they shared information about the coronavirus in Cambodia.
The Health Ministry registered four new cases, risen up to 91. A British couple and an American couple were passengers of Viking Cruise Journey where the rest of them, 24 people were cleared and would depart for home from Phnom Penh via charter flights the next day. It also added that four patients, two from Tboung Khmum and another two from Battambang, were all tested negative twice and ready to be discharged.
Cambodia recorded five new cases, two from the French tourist group and 3 Cambodians with no recent foreign travels.
Four more patients, three from Phnom Penh and one from Tboung Khmum, had made complete recovery for that day.
Reportedly around 40 thousand workers from Thailand had returned home. The local authorities were ordered to pay close attention and getting them informed on preventive measures and self-quarantine themselves for two weeks.
On 28 March, The government mandated to impose travel restrictions to Cambodia, effective on 30 March. It stated that it would suspend visa exemption policy and issuance of tourist visa, e-visa and visa on arrival to all foreigners for a period of one month. Any foreign individual entering the country must obtain a prior visa from Cambodian missions abroad and provide a medical certificate, issued no more than 72 hours prior to arrival time and proof that he/she holds at least 50 thousand dollars for medical coverage.
The authorities had traced 340 people who had indirect contacts with infected French tourist group in Siem Reap.
On 30 March, all casinos were ordered to close temporarily starting from 1 April.
The authorities in Cambodia were called out by Human Rights Watch on 30 March, 2020, for the use of provocative expressions against the vulnerable factions of people and foreigners, with regard to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The rights advocacy group demanded the government to limit sharing personal information such as, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, race and sexual identity, of COVID-19 patients to prevent discrimination and violence against them based on the cited factors.
|Province||# of cases||Recovered||Classification||# of Cases|
|Kampong Chhnang||3||2||Age||Above 80||1|
|Phnom Penh||23||15 (+2)||30-39||27|
On 23 March, a team of seven specialist physicians from southern China's Guangxi with medical supplies, including ventilators, medical masks, protective suits, test kits, and infrared temperature sensors, had landed in Phnom Penh to assist tackling the pandemic.
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- His statements on Twitter (@theMHcomedian)
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- A 30 year-old Cambodian man was not found in the detailed table below. The Health Ministry had not mentioned him of when he was traced of the virus, only referred him as recovered on 29 March. Source
- Two Cambodian men, 71 and 38, who admitted to Chak Angre Krom Hospital were not found in the detailed table below. The Health Ministry had not mentioned them of when they were traced of the virus, only referred them as recovered and had tested negative twice on 25 March, along with 33-year-old man, Case 49. Source
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- "Chinese Doctors and Medical Supplies to Fight Covid-19 Arrive in Phnom Penh". Fresh News. 23 March 2020.
- "Chinese medical experts arrive in Cambodia to help fight outbreak". The Star. 23 March 2020.