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With recent cases, Cambodia remains in Stage 1 of COVID-19 outbreak, WHO confirms

After more than a month without Cambodia reporting any cases of COVID-19, two cases of COVID-19 were recently reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).

On 21 May, a Cambodian man tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at the Phnom Penh airport from the Philippines via South Korea. On 22 May, a Cambodian woman tested positive. She returned to Cambodia from the United States via South Korea on 8 May and was first tested on 12 May. This first test returned negative.

“It is not surprising that Cambodia has reported further cases of COVID-19. The country remains in Stage 1 of the outbreak, where we expect to see sporadic imported cases,” said Dr. Li Ailan, WHO Representative to Cambodia. “As people are arriving in Cambodia from other countries where there is widespread community transmission, it is not unusual to see new cases.”

Both cases are mild and are being treated at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. Passengers who arrived on the same flight as the man who tested positive on 21 May are in quarantine at a hotel in Phnom Penh.

The recent reporting of these new cases indicates that Cambodia’s public health surveillance and response system is continuing to work well to detect and respond new cases. WHO is currently working with the Ministry of Health to strengthen public health measures including passengers’ health screening at international airports and provision of health information and advice to international travellers.

WHO also continues to advise the government to apply a risk-based balanced approach for gradually lifting or reintroducing necessary social and travel-related measures, including restrictions on people entering the country.

While these recent cases do not, to date, constitute a second wave of the virus in Cambodia, they demonstrate the need for continued vigilance, ongoing preventative measures and preparedness for possible community transmission.

WHO urges and appreciates the public’s efforts to continue to comply with public health measures, which protect individuals, families, and communities from further transmission of COVID-19.

Dr. Li said, “These cases demonstrate what WHO has previously said: the pandemic will not be over in any country until it is over in every country. This virus may be with us for a long time. We must remain vigilant.”