Cambodian Police Catch Monkeypox Patient Who Fled Thailand

Cambodian police arrested the Nigerian man who tested positive for monkeypox and fled earlier this week in Phuket.

The Khmer Times quoted Cambodian capital district’s deputy governor Keut Chhe as saying the man had been detained at a market in Phnom Penh on Saturday afternoon.

The Nigerian national also became the first monkeypox case detected in Cambodia. Police officers then took the 27-year-old man to the Cambodian Health Ministry.

Health officials have launched an investigation to trace the people who have been in contact with the patient since he entered Cambodia.

The man is believed to have crossed from Thailand into Cambodia on Friday. The Department of Disease Control’s director-general Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong said the tourist’s phone signal had last been detected in a Thai border province.

Dr. Opas addressed the audience to give an update on the situation on Saturday. Although he did not provide details about the country or the neighboring province, his presentation showed that the location was Sa Kaeo, which borders Banteay Meanchey province in Cambodia.

Later, Cambodian media reported that the man appeared to be heading to Sihanoukville, a seaside resort town, but ended up going to Phnom Penh, one of the largest ex-pat communities in Cambodia.

According to Dr. Opas, the Nigerian man managed to escape from Thailand with other people’s help. In response, Thai police have launched an investigation to find and take action against anyone who may have facilitated his escape.

Public health officials have not unveiled the man’s identity for medical privacy. However, it was revealed that he had arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on October 21.

The Nigerian national had a non-immigrant visa and reportedly planned to study language at a university in Chiang Mai until January 18.

Meanwhile, Thai authorities continue to track down people who have been in close contact with the foreign patient.

“As of now, new monkeypox cases have not been reported. People have no need to worry as every member of the at-risk group is being closely monitored by the department,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.