The Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed that three senior officials who were in contact with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto during his visit to Cambodia on November 3 tested positive for Covid-19.
Szijjarto was confirmed Covid-19 positive in the Thai capital Bangkok after his visit in Cambodia, where he also met Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior officials.
In a press release issued late on Monday, the ministry identified the three as Sous Yara, 47, a member of the National Assembly and spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party; Sar Chetra, 47, the deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and the Hungarian ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam.
The three cases bring the number of people who contracted Covid-19 following the visit to four, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. The other patient is a Cambodian bodyguard assigned to the delegation.
The latest cases were confirmed after the ministry reported two new Covid-19 cases on the same day – a 29-year-old Cambodian man from Kandal province and a 38-year-old Cambodian man from Takeo province.
The two men, aged 29 and 38, travelled from Japan and boarded a flight in South Korea bound for Cambodia. They arrived on October 26 and tested positive after their second test on their 13th day of quarantine
It said the two were on the same flight with two other Cambodians who tested positive for Covid-19 on their first test.
There were a total of 39 passengers on the flight, 28 of whom were sent to quarantine at two hotels in Phnom Penh. The other seven entered quarantine at Pochentong High School and will be required to quarantine for another 14 days because they had been quarantining close to the two men who tested positive.
The latest positive cases involving Szijjarto’s visit were reported as the health ministry started a second round of tests for the 944 people who were in contact with him.
The ministry reminded those who tested negative to further quarantine at their house. Those not able to quarantine at home will quarantine at the Sokha Phnom Penh Residence in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district.
They will be tested three more times. The second test was carried out on the morning of November 9. The third test will be administered on November 14 and the last sample will be taken on November 18.
In his Facebook post on November 9, Hun Sen said doctors had taken his sample and those of others who had been in contact with him for a second Covid-19test.
“All the results are negative, which is good for the second of the four stages. I still need to be quarantined and wait for the third test on November 14 and the fourth on November 18.
“I’m waiting for the test results of the [more than] 900 people who were directly or indirectly affected by the event I would like to name the ‘November 3 event,” he said, referring to the November visit by the Hungarian delegation.
The prime minister instructed the health ministry as well as the Phnom Penh municipal and Kandal provincial authorities to strictly monitor those being quarantined.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has announced a suspension of vocational training at national and international institutions in Phnom Penh and Kandal province for two weeks starting November 9. These institutions are required to continue teaching online to avoid spreading Covid-19 in the institutions and communities.
The Ministry of Education also declared to suspend public and private institutions for two weeks in Phnom Penh and Kandal province. They have to continue learning and studying online.
On November 9, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said two Cambodian diplomats and two local staff members at the Cambodian embassy in France tested positive Covid-19.
The ministry said the four were sent to be treated separately after seeing French doctors. It said it will work closely with French health authorities to observe the four diplomats and staff throughout their treatment.