Sihanoukville, Cambodia – When the Cambodian prime minister welcomed passengers on a cruise ship in the wake of the coronavirus scare on Valentine’s Day, the hugs were the order of the day. There was no protective mask.
Prime Minister Hun Sen not only wore a robe, also assured that the ship was virus-free, her bodyguards instructed those who donated masks to take them down. The next day, the American Ambassador to Cambodia, W.C. Patrick Murphy, who brought his own family to welcome passengers aboard the ship, also became masculine.
“We are very thankful that Cambodia has literally opened its ports and doors for people in need,” said Mr Murphy.
However hundreds of passengers came down, one after the other Positive test for coronavirus. Now, health officials have expressed concern that Cambodia’s door was open, and that the world cruise ship could pay for passengers from Westerdam’s house.
Before the dock at Westerdam Sihanoukville, the dreaded governments of other countries drove the ship to five ports although cruise operators, Holland America, assured officials that the ship’s passengers had been carefully examined.
The decision to allow the entry of Prime Minister Hun Sen appeared as a political calculus just like anything else. He is a long-serving ruler in the region and a close ally of China, known for his survival skills.
But Mr Hun Sen’s critics fear that older dictators are likely to behave badly.
“Of course, he had to do the dictator’s thing: use it for the maximum value of photo ops, roses,” said Sofal Year, a Cambodian politics expert at Accidental College. “What is in the best interest of Cambodians is completely irrelevant to him.”
It is too early to say whether the epidemic disaster has caused the decision to let hundreds of passengers leave from Westerdam. The Cambodian Health Authority reports that out of 2,277 passengers and crew, seven have left Cambodia for their dispersed homes around the world. The rest remain in hotels in the capital Phnom Penh or on ships.
But despite the continuing speculation about the epidemic in Cambodia, the shortcomings of screening coronaviruses have raised fears that this small Southeast Asian country might prove to be a staggering vector in a virus infection that has already killed more than 7,700 people, mostly Chinese.
Many health experts request that people contacting coronavirus patients for 14 days become self-sufficient, so that they do not speak on any other infectious network.
However, on Monday, Mr Hun Sen Fennep advised Penn officials on a spectacular trip for travelers from Westerdam.
In a post on Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page, “It is better to travel in a room or travel to a city than to get upset or scared at a hotel.”
The lack of urgency in Cambodia, where officials scrambled around the ship without protection on Monday, hinting at a virus trying to contain a virus, indicates that experts warn that it is spreading faster than SARS or MRS.
“It’s an infection like influenza,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “It’s like trying to stop the wind” “
Last week, when Westerdam docked in Sihanoukville, the Cambodian government and cruise operator found the ship to be virus-free.
The announcement was minimal premature.
Of the 2,277 passengers on board the vessel, only 20 were tested for the virus before they arrived, and the reason for this is that they reported carrying medical personnel in various ailments.
Holland America reported that the 3-year-old American who tested positive twice in Malaysia was not among the 20.
Passengers reported that the health of the remaining passengers was limited to a few temperature checks on hand using only an infrared thermometer. In a statement, Holland America said that no one on board had recorded a high temperature during one of the screenings.
A announcement issued to passengers in Westerdam on Monday warned that they should avoid the ship’s hot deck and return to their air-conditioned rooms to avoid false high-temperature readings.
Some health experts have questioned Effectiveness of infrared thermometers, Also known as temperature guns, they measure heat generated from the surface of the body to measure the body’s original temperature.
According to Gary Strahan, who runs a small infrared device company in Texas, environmental factors cause thermometers to distort gun lessons.
“In Cambodia you have warmer background temperatures,” he said. “It can affect measurement. This is the problem with a non-contact thermometer.
Even when temperatures are accurately estimated, people are taking drugs that lower their temperature, like some temperature drugs.
And in any case, asymptomatic people can still go to the coronavirus, scientists have found.
“A person who doesn’t appear as a fever doesn’t necessarily get infected with a disease or a virus,” said Jim Seferin, an infrared device specialist at the New Jersey Infraspection Institute.
According to positive tests in Malaysia, Cambodian health officials said they would rely on a local lab to test all passengers and crew members still in the country for coronavirus.
On Monday evening, commuters celebrated news from the Cambodian health authorities that the first batch of the 6 people in Nampan had tested negative, though they were not sure about the positive test later.
“The people on the ship are extremely grateful to the people of Cambodia,” said Tammy Graves, an American from Kansas. “I was a little worried that they would scare us, even the hotel, but it hadn’t happened before.”
On Monday afternoon, more than 100 Westerdam passengers accepted Mr Hun Sen’s offer of a tour of the capital, boarding a bus to visit the palace and other sites.
Only one can be seen wearing masks in travel pictures posted on government-linked websites.
Despite the fact that the coronavirus was popping up in Southeast Asia, Mr. Hun Sen has campaigned against the masks, Arguing that they are better at spreading fear than stopping germs. At a press conference last month, he announced that anyone who dared to wear a mask would jump.
Even after other government sanctions on China’s travel sanctions on Beijing, Mr Hun Sen traveled to China’s capital and met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in another image.
And because other countries provide airplanes of people trapped in Wuhan city, where the virus is believed to have originated, Mr Hun Sen said he would not bring Cambodian students back home because they had to “join the Chinese in fighting the disease.”
After giving back to a Western country that demands human rights advancement in exchange for aid and investment, a sense of solidarity is created for this country in a heavily dependent country for goodwill.
There is a torrent of Chinese cash Rebuilding CambodiaNowhere more than Sihanoukville, the once sleepy beach town that is now a vast construction site of gold nets and huge residential blocks. More than 90 percent of the city’s business is now owned by Chinese.
On Monday, One Yin was worried about the massage of three female passengers from Westerdam before the Malaysian virus confirmed the incident. He was not scared at first, as the Prime Minister assured the people that everything would be alright.
“Now I’m more concerned,” she said.
In a country where Mr. Hun Sen has broken the largest opposition and political killings are not uncommon, such light concerns are as common as many ordinary residents are willing to assemble.
But there is also skepticism over the government’s controversy that only one person in Cambodia, a Chinese national who has returned to the country, has tested positive for coronavirus.
Local human rights activist and founder of the Future Forum, Ou Birak, said: “There is a natural lack of credibility and trust with the Cambodian government. “This is Hun Sen’s Westerdam problem, because even though he does the right thing as a humanitarian, he would be seen as a Chinese puppet instead.”
On Monday, Mr Hun Sen announced another publicity stunt: he would like to invite a party of passengers from Westerdam.
Welcome to the mask!
Reporting by Sean Narine was contributed to Sihanoukville; Ronnie Carin Rabin and David Yafi-Bellani in New York; And Richard C. Paddock of Donpasar, Indonesia.