Cambodia Re-appeals to Malaysia to Double Check the Test of Suspected Positive Case

AKP Phnom Penh, February 16, 2020 —

Minister of Health of Cambodia H.E. Mam Bunheng has sent a letter to his Malaysian counterpart H.E. Hon Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, urging the Malaysian side to verify the case of an American woman tested positive of COVID-19 who had disembarked from the Westerdam ship docked at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

“[…] the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia learnt through the media that an American woman, 83 years old, a passenger of the Westerdam ship docked at Sihanoukville Port of Cambodia was tested COVID-19 positive in Malaysia,” said the Cambodian health minister in his letter dated Feb. 16.

“In this regard, I would like to kindly request Your Excellency to double check the test of this suspected positive case again to verify the first positive result in order to confirm the accuracy of the result for the case,” underlined H.E. Mam Bunheng.

The American woman was among the passengers of Westerdam cruise ship who had taken charter flights from Preah Sihanouk province to Phnom Penh International Airport for their flight to Malaysia. However, her husband, 85, also an American, who traveled with her, was tested negative for the deadly virus.

In its press release last night, the Ministry of Health of Cambodia affirmed to have conducted thorough heath examinations on the Westerdam’s passengers and crewmembers, and worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) as well as followed the technical standards and WHO’s International Health Regulations of 2005 (IHR 2005).

According to the Westerdam’s operator Holland America Line, on Feb. 10, all 2,257 passengers and crew on board Westerdam were temperature-tested and not one person had an elevated temperature. Disembarking guests also completed a written health questionnaire and the passports of everyone on board were reviewed to ensure no one had traveled through mainland China in the prior 14 days. During the voyage there was no indication of COVID-19 on the ship. 

By C. Nika