Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

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Chaktomuk ferry dock staff check boarding passengers’ temperatures before embarking to Kandal province’s Arey Ksat village. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women.

In a press release, the ministry listed the names of venues whose operations have been temporarily suspended, including the nightclubs N8, The Bridge Club, Love (in Boeung Raing commune, Daun Penh district), The World KTV, Jin Zun KTV, Coco Club and Hotel, Celeste Sky Bar and Club 168.

Affected commercial residences comprise the Casa Meridian hotel and condominium, Le Gong Guan Hotel, City Comfort Hotel, The Pointe Serviced Apartments, Penthouse Residence condominium, Skyline Dumex, Somet Hotel and Apartments condominium, Residence L Olympic Condominium and the Diamond Twin Tower.

Closed commercial shops entail the Prince Central Plaza shopping centre, Ju Hao restaurant and Ven Mansion Shop, while the SIS International School and Hun Sen Phnom Penh Thmey High School were also suspended.

The ministry requested that individuals who had visited these locations between February 6 and 20, or associated with people connected to the outbreak, come forward for testing on a voluntary basis.

“According to contact tracing and identification work in progress, this situation of community transmission is now larger and more complicated than the November 28 event. The ministry has laid out measures and interventions based on the detection of Covid-19 at each location to prevent further spread of infections,” it said.

The ministry reiterated reminders for residents, particularly those in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, to remain careful and vigilant in carrying out preventive measures.

It said that as of February 22, there had been 568 recorded cases of Covid-19. Ninety-three patients are receiving treatment at five hospitals.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked residents of the capital to be careful and avoid unnecessary travel during the outbreak.

“Although we have learned of some affected sites and closed them, we are still not yet certain as to the scope of people’s travels from those areas. Therefore, it is best if residents stay at home. I beg everyone to carry out the ‘three protections and three don’ts’,” he said.

The ‘three protections’ are wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining a physical distance of 1.5m from others. The ‘three don’ts’ refer to avoiding crowded places, enclosed areas without ventilation and making physical contact.

In a recorded message, Hun Sen also announced that Minister of National Defence Tea Banh would seek to prepare Preah Ket Mealea Hospital and Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

“The number of patients has increased, burdening public hospitals. We must prepare military and other hospitals to address this problem. We will evaluate the suitability of Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital. We need to be careful and forethoughtful in management of this situation,” he said.

The Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia said on February 22 that it had been in contact with Ton Thanh Tra, director of Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital, reporting that the hospital would be honoured to cooperate with the leadership of Cambodia. It also lauded the capabilities of the hospital to ensure quality treatment and isolation of Covid-19 patients.

Phnom Penh municipal governor Kuong Sreng told The Post that the Sokha Hotel security guard who had secretly led four Chinese women away from their quarantine accommodations last weekend was being kept in quarantine, but it had not yet been confirmed whether he had been infected. The women later tested positive for Covid-19.

He stated that the guard would be punished and fined in accordance with the law and without exception.

“When he finishes the required quarantine, we will apply measures stipulated in the relevant sub-decree. He will not get away with this,” Sreng said.