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Cambodia Reports Two New COVID-19 Cases; Siem Reap Residents Test Positive


People are driving on the street in Phnom Penh city, Cambodia on February, 11, 2020.(Malis Tum/VOA Khmer)

The Cambodian government confirmed Tuesday morning two new coronavirus cases in Siem Reap province, bringing the country’s tally to 109, with the new cases linked to the religious gathering in Malaysia late February.

Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Health announced that two more Cambodians in Siem Reap town had been diagnosed with the virus, bringing the national tally to 109. The two confirmed cases, a mother and her son, are related to a man who had returned from a religious congregation in Malaysia earlier this month, which has been the source of hundreds of other cases.

The ministry added that 23 people had recovered from the disease as of Tuesday morning.

“We haven’t seen any evidence showing that there is community spread, but there is a possibility of that,” said Ly Sovann, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, on his Facebook page. “There are no deaths,” he added.

With a rising number of cases, the government has yet to announce a lockdown of the country, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying he will not shutdown cafes, restaurants, markets and garment factories.

The government has maintained that cases were linked to foreign arrivals in the country, or returning Cambodians, even though questions remain over the amount of testing conducted in the country to detect positive cases.

Hun Sen is also considering the use of a “state of emergency” law, which will be considered by the cabinet on March 31 before being passed by parliament.

“Now the draft is finished. I will lead a Cabinet meeting tomorrow on [March] 31 to discuss the draft before a scheduled meeting on Friday,” he said.

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