Public urged to stay cautious as Covid infection risks remain

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69 returning migrant workers from Thailand through land border crossings have tested positive for Covid-19. Banteay Meanchey Provincial hall

In just under a period of one month, a total of 69 migrant workers who returned to Cambodia from Thailand through land border crossings have tested positive for Covid-19. Thus far, 21 of them have recovered.

With the number of people infected with Covid-19 in Thailand still increasing, the ministries of Health and Labour and Vocational Training have urged migrant workers there to remain vigilant and implement preventive measures consistently.

Labour minister Ith Sam Heng said: “Please, all Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, stay in place and stop coming to the border to return to your hometowns. Please don’t undermine the Thai authorities’ efforts at preventing Covid-19,” he said.

Meanwhile, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine warned that although Cambodia managed to prevent a mass outbreak following the November 28 community event – a reference to the first confirmed case of local transmission – infection risks remained if people drop their guard.

Vandine said the health ministry had found 15 returning Cambodian workers infected with Covid-19 in one day.

“This is a larger number than we had previously foreseen and with this many infections, if even one person skips quarantine somehow it could easily lead to an outbreak. So please do not be negligent.

“I have frequently warned that if we easily forget about Covid-19 thinking the November 28 community event is over, the virus can easily infect us.

Vandine said all people must continue to follow the “new normal” by consistently implementing the three do’s and three don’ts guidelines introduced by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the health ministry.

These measures are the most effective way to fight against Covid-19 and will remain important for the foreseeable future, Vandine said.

She warned that Covid-19 probably cannot be fully defeated in Cambodia this year. Despite the positive developments with Covid-19 vaccines, she pointed out, these guidelines are still necessary for everyone until most of the country is actually vaccinated.

According to the health ministry’s January 17 report, Cambodia has recorded a total of 439 Covid-19 cases, including the 69 cases among migrant workers returning from Thailand.

Of the 385 patients who have recovered and been discharged from hospital, 21 are Cambodian migrants from Thailand.

Among the 54 patients still hospitalised, six are at the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control; one at Pailin Provincial Referral Hospital; 34 at Banteay Meanchey Provincial Referral Hospital; 11 at Battambang Provincial Referral Hospital; and two at the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Referral Hospital.