Cambodiaâ€™s Prime Minister Hun Sen saidÂ WednesdayÂ that he and 17 family members, including drivers and bodyguards, tested negative for COVID-19, after he met with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, who tested positive after leaving the country for Thailand.
In a post to his Facebook page, Hun Sen said Cambodiaâ€™s Ministry of Health had already gathered everyone who interacted with Hungaryâ€™s top diplomat during his one-day visit to test them for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
â€œEven though I tested negative for COVID-19, Iâ€™ve been placed under a 14-day quarantine, meaning I canâ€™t even see my wife, my children, or my grandchildren,â€ Hun Sen wrote.
The prime minister said he will be absent from many public ceremonies and donation events but insisted that he will continue to exercise and play golf in isolation.
Those exposed to the coronavirus often do not exhibit a viral load significant enough to register positive in a test for days or even weeks after making contact with a carrier.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn refused to provide any comment to RFAâ€™s Khmer Service about Hun Senâ€™s health and instead forwarded on the prime ministerâ€™s Facebook statement.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement WednesdayÂ informing the public about Szijjartoâ€™s positive test.
The ministry said in a press release that all Hungarian delegates had tested negative for COVID-19 before arriving in Cambodia.Â Upon arrival in Bangkok on Wednesday, the delegation tested positive.
â€œUpon learning about the situation, the government decided to have all government leaders and other officials who interacted with the [Hungarian] delegates tested for COVID-19 and quarantine according to the Ministry of Healthâ€™s orders,â€ the statement read.
Abuse of protocols
Social Analyst Seng Sary criticized Cambodiaâ€™s government officials for abusing the Ministry of Healthâ€™s protocols by not wearing masks during a signing ceremony on Tuesday.
Hun Sen, Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, and Minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation Mao Havanall did not wear masks.
â€œThe government violated the Ministry of Healthâ€™s rules,â€ Seng Sary said.
â€œThe government has asked its citizens to comply with the Ministry of Health but instead it abused its order. It is unfortunate.â€
Seng Sary warned of dire consequences for Cambodia if the countryâ€™s government officials contract the disease.
Ministry of Health spokesman Or Vandine refused to comment but said the ministry is working on the issue.
Cambodia has reported 292 coronavirus cases with no deaths.
On Monday, the country opened schools for the first time since March, citing the results of a trial phase in which some schools in the capital Phnom Penh and parts of eastern Cambodia reopened last month.
Class sizes and hours remain limited as the coronavirus continues to rage throughout Europe and the U.S.
Reported by RFAâ€™s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.