Planning Minister Chhay Than and Senior Minister Tao Seng Hour denied yesterday that they had contracted the AH1N1 influenza virus, contradicting a Health Ministry announcement that they, a deputy prime minister and Prime Minister Hun Sen had been infected by the pandemic virus.
However, Mr Than and Mr Seng Hour said doctors had ordered them to stay at home this week.
Tuesday’s announcement said Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly was also infected. It attributed Mr Hun Sen’s absence from Monday’s celebrations of the CPP’s 59th anniversary to the illness.
Reached by telephone Mr Than said the announcement was incorrect in regard to his personal health but said yeterday that doctors with the Ministry of Health had ordered him to stay home for five days anyway.
“I am sick with a slight sore throat but my health condition is now normal. I was not diagnosed with the AH1N1 influenza virus, but the doctor ordered me to stay at home for five days,” he said, adding that he did not know why doctors had done so.
“I don’t know. It’s up to the doctors. They told me to stay isolated and wear a mask,” he said.
He declined to comment on the reported diagnoses of the other officials.
Mr Seng Hour also denied being diagnosed with AH1N1.
“I did not have it,” he said, adding that he did not have flu symptoms. “The doctors tested my health condition and ordered me to stay home for a week.”
Asked why he was ordered to stay home, Mr Seng Hour only answered that he would respect the doctor’s orders.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng said he was in a meeting and too busy to comment.
Dr Philippe Buchy, director of virology at the Pasteur Institute, which conducts national tests for influenza, said he could not discuss whether the men were tested for AHINI due to patient confidentiality.
There were 15 cases of AH1N1 recorded in June, which is the start of the influenza season, he said.
“The activity is picking up,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Kim Chan and Tim Sturrock)