Cambodian Ministry issues warning over corona virus outbreak

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Public has been asked by the Ministry of Health to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. 

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high
alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have
been reported in the Kingdom thus far.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its
similarity to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), which 18
years ago killed nearly 650 people across China.

In China, where the 2019-nCoV outbreak began last month, the virus
has infected 440 people. Cases have also been reported in the US,
Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Macau, reported AFP.

Minister of Health Mam Bunheng told Cambodians in a statement to take
all possible precautions, including avoiding travel to the Chinese city
of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

“We would like to remind all of our Cambodian compatriots to
stay away from ill or dead livestock, and to avoid travelling to Wuhan,
particularly to the [Huanan] seafood market, farms that sell live
animals or wildlife, and other places where cases of the virus have been
reported. Don’t go near infected people,” Bunheng warned.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann said on Wednesday that there
were 445 confirmed cases of the virus, mostly in China, and that nine
people had died.

There have been 30 instances of people completely recovering from the virus after treatment, he said.

The illness is mainly transmitted via the respiratory tract and can
be transmitted through human contact, the ministry’s statement said. The
public has been told to be particularly careful if they choose to
travel during Chinese New Year.

“There are no cases of the virus in Cambodia yet, but we ask everyone
to remain vigilant and take good care of themselves,” the ministry

Ministry of Health spokesman Or Vandine said anyone that suspects
they could be infected should call the emergency services (115),
particularly if they have travelled to China in the last 14 days or had
had contact with an infected animal or person.

Symptoms of the disease include high body temperature (above 38 Celsius), runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath.

“If you think you may have pneumonia caused by 2019-nCoV, you should
seek treatment immediately at the state health institutions closest to
you,” Vandine said.

The Ministry of Health said it had installed screening equipment at
the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville, and at border
crossings in Bavet, Poipet, and Kampot’s Prek Chak.

Quarantine teams have been dispatched to the Kingdom’s three
international airports and rooms have been set aside for infected
individuals at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and provincial
referral hospitals in Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap.

The equipment and medicine necessary to treat the disease are ready if needed, the ministry said.

Cambodia has laboratories to test for the virus, and 2,000 health
officials trained to treat an infection, the Ministry stressed.

In Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, authorities cancelled large
public events, called on visitors to stay away and urged residents not
to leave the central Chinese city of 11 million people, AFP reported on

China’s National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin told a news
conference in Beijing that 1,394 people are still under medical
observation, while 765 others have been discharged.

The Chinese government has classified the outbreak in the same
category as the Sars epidemic, meaning compulsory isolation for those
diagnosed with the illness and the potential to implement quarantine

But it still has not been able to identify the exact source of the virus.