The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) has elected to expel the Nigerian monkeypox patient who fled Thailand after testing positive and will ban him from entering Cambodia for three years.
The man, Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem, was officially declared recovered from the disease on August 5 and dispatched by the Ministry of Health into the custody of the GDI the following day.
Nzerem fled to Cambodia from Thailand last month, prompting an all-out manhunt to prevent the contagious disease from spreading. Police found and detained him on July 23 near Doeum Thkov Market in the capital’s Chamkarmon district and was admitted to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.
GDI director-general Kirth Chantharith said on August 7 that the 27-year-old man would certainly be deported for entering the country illegally, though could not yet confirm a specific date.
“We are preparing the procedure to expel him from Cambodia. Under the appropriate sub-decree, he will be barred from entering the Kingdom for three years. He is currently arranging finances for his flights home and is being held in detention, pending his departure,” he said.
According to health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine, Nzerem was discharged on August 6 after recovering and testing negative. She called on the public to maintain protective health measures.
“I want all members of the public to join us in taking all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox,” she said.
Phnom Penh municipal deputy governor Keut Chhe said on August 7 that none of the five people who had been in contact with the man had developed any symptoms. Although they had tested negative for monkeypox, they were all instructed to self-isolate for 21 days.
“We have been following up on the health of these five. I will update the public when their quarantine has been completed and when we allow them go free,” he said.
The ministry advised that symptoms of monkeypox may include a fever of over 38.5 degrees
Celsius, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Also among the symptoms is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest or genitals.
To prevent transmission, it advised against close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have developed a rash, touching the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox or sharing eating utensils or cups.
If in doubt, members of the public should contact the ministry’s 115 hotline immediately.