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Six New COVID-19 Cases; Four from Already-Quarantined Viking Journey Cruise

Viking ​Cruise Journey​ ​docks at Kampong Cham province.

The Cambodian government confirmed six new coronavirus cases in the country; two additional cases from a French tour group in Sihanoukville and four from the Viking Journey Cruise, whose passengers were quarantined two weeks ago.

This takes Cambodia’s tally to 93 cases, a majority of the cases reported just in the last two weeks. Speaking to volunteer doctors and healthcare professionals in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed two more cases among the French tour group quarantined in Sihanoukville.

So far, 33 of the 36 tourists in that group have tested positive, as well as two Cambodian guides accompanying them. However, the Health Ministry did not confirm the two new cases as of publication.

The ministry did confirm four positive cases among passengers, who were aboard the Viking Journey Cruise and quarantined in a hotel in Kampong Cham. Previously, three British tourists had contracted the respiratory disease, with the ministry reporting Tuesday night that two Americans and two British tourists were now positive for the virus.

The four new cases in Kampong Cham comes after all passengers were put in quarantine two weeks ago. Fifty-three other passengers who had tested negative at the end of their quarantine were allowed to leave the hotel Tuesday.

U.S. publication, USA Today, published an article on March 15, in which two of the quarantined Americans from the Viking Journey Cruise said they were “being detained” and not quarantined. They also complained of being housed in a “filthy” and “dilapidated” hotel, with “ants, flying insects, little lizards.”

"There are dead bugs everywhere – and also live bugs," said Theresa Gordon-Knapp, one of the two passengers quoted in the article.

Hun Sen took umbrage to the article Wednesday morning and mocked the American couple for saying the Cambodian government had put them in a “lizard place.”

“The [two] American nationals are the ones who said we put them in a lizard place,” Hun Sen said, though it was unclear if the two new cases were the same American couple who spoke to USA Today.

“They are rich and they want to stay at five-star hotel,” he said. “If we listened to them, maybe the five-star hotel would be destroyed.”