Cambodia shuts schools in capital area as virus precaution

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Students wearing face-masks, wait for their morning school class at Santhormok high school, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Schools throughout Cambodia reopened Monday for the first time since March but with class sizes and hours limited by coronavirus precautions. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Students wearing face-masks, wait for their morning school class at Santhormok high school, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Schools throughout Cambodia reopened Monday for the first time since March but with class sizes and hours limited by coronavirus precautions. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Schools in Cambodia's capital and the surrounding area will be shut for two weeks as a precaution after Hungary's foreign minister tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting Cambodia last week, the Education Ministry said Sunday.

Schools throughout Cambodia reopened last Monday after being closed since March due to the coronavirus, but with limited class sizes and hours.

Public and private schools in Phnom Penh, the capital, and the surrounding province of Kandal will be closed again for two weeks, the Education Ministry said in a statement. It said students will be able to learn online, as they did when schools were closed earlier.

The ministry said the shutdown was necessary because it has been unable to collect enough information from the parents of those students who had direct or indirect contact with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto during his visit last week.

Szijjarto tested positive upon arrival in Thailand on Tuesday after his Cambodia visit. He was placed in quarantine before leaving for Hungary on Wednesday, and all his meetings in Bangkok were canceled.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Saturday that a Cambodian bodyguard for Szijjarto had tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the bodyguard was the only one among some 900 people who were part of Szijjarto’s visit to test positive.

Hun Sen and four Cabinet ministers are in quarantine after they met with Szijjarto the same day he tested positive. Hun Sen said he has tested negative and would abide by the country’s coronavirus guidelines and stay quarantined for 14 days.