Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Two more river-cruise passengers test positive for coronavirus

Viking Cruise ship docks at Kompong Cham province on March 11, 2020. Panha Chhorpoan

Two more British nationals on a river cruise in Kampong Cham province tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday night.

A 65-year-old British woman had tested positive earlier in the week after sharing a flight from London to Hanoi with a Vietnamese woman who was later found to be carrying the virus.

The Health Ministry announced on Thursday that a 73-year-old man and his 69-year-old wife, both British nationals, had also tested positive for the virus after the Viking cruise was put under lockdown.

“In total, three British nationals have tested positive for Covid-19 among 64 passengers and crew members,” the ministry said, referring to the disease.

The couple are being kept in a quarantined room at the Kampong Cham Provincial Referral Hospital, while the passengers and crew who tested negative are now being quarantined separately on land, the ministry said.

Earlier, ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said the first British woman to test positive had flown from London to Hanoi on March 2. She began the cruise in Hanoi, traveling to Ho Chi Minh City on March 5 and Phnom Penh via the Mekong river on March 7.

Vietnamese authorities alerted Cambodian counterparts to the British woman’s contact with the Vietnamese coronavirus patient.

The woman initially refused to be tested in Phnom Penh at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital before agreeing and testing positive after arriving in Kampong Cham on March 9.

The World Health Organization this week officially declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global pandemic, with more than 118,000 cases confirmed worldwide. Hundreds of new cases have been detected within a single day in South Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Iran and the U.S., according to WHO. More than 4,000 people have died.