Covid-19 cluster cases hit 194

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The Covid-19 testing laboratory currently under construction at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital. The laboratory is expected to be completed before the end of March. Chinese Embassy in Cambodia

The Ministry of Health on February 25 reported detection of 65 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, at least 58 of which are linked to the February 20 community transmission event, bringing the total number of new cases in the five days since then to 194.

The ministry noted that most of the infected individuals were Chinese nationals and also included nine Vietnamese, five Cambodians and one person each from South Korea, Singapore and Japan. The patients are receiving medical care at the Phnom Penh Quarantine Centre, which the municipal hall has designated as a treatment centre.

Six of the new cases were found among Chinese nationals in Sihanoukville who were tested as part of required health certification procedures prior to their intended return to China. They were admitted for treatment at the provincial referral hospital.

The final new case of the day was confirmed to be imported – a Cambodian national from the Kon Mom district of Ratanakkiri province who had been serving abroad as a UN peacekeeper.

Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said on February 25 that the six confirmed cases detected in Sihanoukville had not yet been linked to the community transmission event in Phnom Penh.

“They had already finished quarantine after arriving to our country. We have yet to find that they are affiliated with the February 20 community transmission, so we have not included them in statistics pertaining to the event,” she said, adding that the ministry continues to investigate possible connections.

The ministry confirmed that it had located 12 of 15 Chinese nationals who had tested positive on February 24 in connection with the community transmission. They have been admitted for treatment, and efforts are ongoing to locate the last three.

Health minister Mam Bun Heng and other officials conducted a site inspection of the quarantine centre in the capital’s Prek Pnov district. The facility has been repurposed as a Covid-19 treatment centre in response to other local hospitals reaching their maximum capacities for such patients.

Ministry secretary of state York Sambath said the centre would be able to accommodate up to 500 patients.

In the capital, the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Chak Angre Health Centre, the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control and the quarantine centre are currently serving as treatment facilities.

Municipal Hall officials have continued to research locations linked to the February 20 event and have claimed to have identified 75 so far. The administration has implored people with suspected links to the event to come forward for testing.

As of February 25, Cambodia had recorded a total of 697 cases of Covid-19. Of these, 217 are currently hospitalised and three more, mentioned above, are being sought by authorities.

Separately, the Chinese embassy posted on its Facebook page on February 25, offering to provide technical assistance to the Covid-19 testing laboratory currently under construction at the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital. The laboratory is expected to be completed before the end of March.

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“[We] will provide specialised laboratory testing equipment as well as assistance with installation and training for the staff,” the embassy said, adding that the laboratory will be able to process up to 1,000 tests each day.