Cambodia reports first COVID-19 death, one year into pandemic

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AP) — Cambodia yesterday confirmed its first death from COVID-19 since the pandemic began more than a year ago as it battles a new local outbreak that has infected hundreds of people.

The 50-year-old man was confirmed infected last month while working as a driver for a Chinese company in coastal Sihanoukville and died at the Khmer-Soviet friendship hospital yesterday morning, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The Health Ministry yesterday said 39 cases were reported from local transmission.

Cambodia has confirmed only 1,163 cases of infection with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, but it is battling a new local outbreak that has infected several hundred people.

According to the Health Ministry, the new outbreak was traced to a foreign resident who broke quarantine in a hotel in early February. That caused a slew of infections and led the government on February 20 to announce a two-week closure of all public schools, cinemas and entertainment areas in Phnom Penh.

The government has since extended the closures for more two weeks for schools, gyms, concert halls, museums and other entertainment venues in Phnom Penh, nearby Kandal province and the coastal province of Sihanoukville.