Miscellaneous

A Quickie: How an International Prostitute Caused a Mass Outbreak of #COVID19 in Cambodia


You know how it is, you are living and working in a developing country. You don’t speak the language, know the customs or culture, and, you don’t care to learn either. Your money goes A LOT farther than it does at home, but the comforts of home are few and far between. What are you gonna do when you need to unwind? You’re going to go for the sure thing, a prostitute. Am I right, or am I right? I’m right, right?

Not that I would personally know anything about that seedy ugly underbelly of society. Honest, I don’t. Just what friends have told me about… and what I’ve read in the media… and that time I stumbled into a girly bar, but those are all stories of a different color. This story is well beyond the financial reach of a part-time blogger and full-time citizen.

On 7 February 2021, a private jet from Dubai landed at Phnom Penh international airport filled with 20 folks ready to party hearty (Or is that hardy? I never realized I didn’t know until I tried to write it just now. If you know, let us know in the comments, okay? It’s more fun than Google.) As soon as you land at Phnom Penh International Airport, you have to (a) lay down a $3,000.00 (US) per person deposit (returned after passing your two-week quarantine), show proof of at least $50,000 (US) of insurance coverage, produce a certificate of a negative #COVID19 test within 72 hours of travel, take a both-nostrils nasal and throat swab #COVID19 test, and quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel at your own expense until all of the #COVID19 tests from the folks on your flight come back negative usually about a day or two. Then, it is off to a private residence for the remainder of your two-week quarantine. But, should someone come back positive on your flight. You’re at the designated quarantine hotel for two weeks. And, at the end of your quarantine, to celebrate, you get another double nasal and throat #COVID19 test. Man, those double nasal swabs really suck.

Getting into the country is possible, but you really had to want to be here. That is a huge investment of time and money. So, what is a working girl gonna do? She’s gonna work extra hard to pay off her debt! She’s gonna bribe the quarantine hotel guards to let her and her partying working-girlfriends out of the hotel so they can go gallivanting around town and country getting paid to be the life of the party and the after-party, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Unfortunately, for these kids, someone on their flight came back positive! The crazy thing is, everybody else on that private jet from Dubai, up and took without completing their quarantine leaving our four anti-heroines here working.

At the end of their two-week quarantine came to an end, they tried to sneak back into their hotel at which time they were surprised to find the authorities waiting for them.

Let’s see, they arrived on 7 February, they quarantined for two weeks, so that would mean that, let’s see, that’s a one and carry your one, and if I could just reach my toes, that’s uh, 18, 19, twenty, um, they were busted on 20 February, thus the moniker, 20 February Community Event. I bet they didn’t get their $3,000.00 (US) deposit back, either.

By the time the authorities caught up with them, one of them had sero-converted. The others would after that. That one woman infected half of Phnom Penh! They were in nightclubs, restaurants, bars, malls, wet markets, coffee shops, apartments, all over the place. Dozens and dozens of places.

They shut everyone of them down. They shut the schools in Phnom Penh. They asked that anyone who was at one of those places from 7 – 20 February to self-quarantine. That would include members of Ye Olde Blogge. We were quarantining like crazy there from 21 February to 4 March. On 5 March, I thought about going out of the apartment for the first time in couple of weeks and realized there weren’t no where I wanted to go, so I stayed in. We’re home bodies.

In the meantime, the outbreak keeps getting bigger because she had the highly contagious UK variant! She’s up to 740 some odd people infected because of her! One person. It is now covering about half the country from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap — the town where Angkor Wat is located. And, Cambodia suffered its first #COVID19 fatality. She killed somebody. Great.

Now that she no longer tests positive for #COVID19, she’s been deported back to China and banned from the country.

The 20 February Community more than doubled the number of cases Cambodia has experienced. According to John Hopkins #COVID19 tracking map thingee, Cambodia has had 1,319 as of this writing. The Chinese prostitute is responsible for over 740 of them!

I can’t believe the unbelievable chutzpah, the self-serving, entitled, narcissistic, uncaring, utter disregard for everyone in the country of Cambodia that this woman had. If there is a cautionary tale for wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding socializing, especially in doors, and handwashing, this is it.

Seriously, the fragile healthcare infrastructure of Cambodia is fixing to be overwhelmed by this. They have a fairly robust contact tracing effort here. They have a fairly compliant population who will do as asked. They had done a good job of containing the virus knowing that if it got out of control, it would devastate them.

And, the government got complacent and developing-nation corruption caught up with them.

Because of this one person, businesses are closed, people are sick, we’re back on distance learning, badly needed scarce government resources are being diverted, lives of tens of thousands of people who live on the edge are being disrupted. Un-fucking-believable.

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Image Attribution

Image was taken from Johns Hopkins #COVID19 tracking thingee.

23 replies »

    • Howdy Ponzo!

      Good luck with your blog! I’ve been to most of the parks around Austin that you review. If you haven’t checked out Lost Maples already, you should. It isn’t near Austin, but it is pretty darn nice.

      #COVID19 put a big crimp in a lot of our plans for 2020. We did manage to move countries, though. It was difficult, stressful, and confusing, but we managed it. The Cambodian government has relaxed most of its restrictions. We’re no longer under selective lockdown, the curfew has been lifted, inter-provincial travel is permitted again, alcohol is for sale. We are still averaging four hundred new infections a day and have several deaths per day, but recoveries are out pacing infections and vaccinations are up. So, we’re hopeful.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, it is just devastating to a country like Cambodia.

      I wish I had taken it, but I found it in social media. It was taken in China at the beginning of the pandemic just a little over a year ago in Guangzhou where we used to live.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  1. WOW! Not to make light of the situation, but can we now classify COVID as an STD? That aside, as with many in this country who eschew mask wearing, distancing, and any other responsible response to the virus, now including getting a vaccine, one or a few such can do huge damage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      As I absorbed the enormity of what happened and as the local reporting made clear that this one woman was responsible for the 700+ following infections, I realized that it was the perfect vehicle for illustrating the importance of masking, social distancing, staying home, and hand washing, especially since it was the highly contagious UK variant.

      Spring break in the US could result in the biggest surge in infections and hospitalizations that we’ve had because of the UK and other variants. The utter foolishness of DeSantis and Abbott is just staggering.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • One must remember that these Republicans, like their leader, take no responsibility for bad outcomes and demand credit for the good ones even if they didn’t do it. The more they try to declare the pandemic behind them, the more persistently it will pursue them. I live in bear country. The advice is to never run from a bear, or even turn and walk away. They will follow and they are faster. The have to be faced, even if it means walking slowly backward.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          I was listening to Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show today, and he was talking about how well most Asian countries have done in handling the virus with many having returned to normal life for the most part. When community spread is detected, they isolate it through contact tracing, quarantining, and closing affected locations. It’s been effective. I marvelled at Cambodia’s handling of the pandemic and how few infections they had experienced.

          The other thing that Abbott and DeSantis are ensuring is the creation of more variants which will prolong the pandemic even longer. It’s as if they want some kind of disaster to occur.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • Any disaster that may result, they will blame on the Biden administration and/or use as evidence of their central talking point, that Big Government (especially when run by Democrats) can’t do anything right.

            As for the variants, however hard they work at it, they can’t ever catch up with Bolsanaro in Brazil. He makes all the Trumpist COVID deniers and screwups look like armatures.

            Liked by 1 person

            • It just seems odd that so many conservative leaders all around the world all started espousing the same BS at about the same time and all have responded so poorly to the crisis at hand. It’s almost enough to make you believe in conspiracy.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • One of the sources of the credibility of conspiracy stories is in the general ignorance of how systems and world views work. People and organizations with similar ideas of their interests and how the world works will behave in similar ways without needing to conspire. “Birds-of-a Feather” and all that. Conservatives too often emulate King Canute trying to hold back the tide.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  I have been working off and on on a post about the psychology behind conspiracy theories and those who believe them, but the real world keeps superseding it. Luckily, it seems like it will be current for a while. You’re right that one of the roots is in ignorance of the world. Our world is a complex place and most of us don’t understand all aspects of it, so they fill-in the gaps with conspiracy theory.

                  When coincidence occurs — two people with similar goals, resources, education, and experience — people tend to believe that there had to be some coordination involved. It’s called proportionality bias. The more unlikely seeming the coincidence, the more likely some kind of nefarious act was behind it. Causes need to be in proportion to the outcomes. It is difficult to accept when they aren’t.

                  In the meantime, the spread of #COVID19 in Cambodia continues in spite of the best efforts of the authorities to stop it. It is that easily transmitted UK variant.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Condolences to Cambodia. Once this virus gets loose in community spread mode, it is damned hard to get under control short of mass vaccination.

                    The pattern-seeking brain has serious trouble dealing with coincidence and the random. Those things are nasty and we hates them. I think the random is the more problematic for us in two ways; We are uncomfortable thinking that nobody is in control of some events, and so invent gods, devils, and conspirators, and most people have a poor (at best) understanding of probabilities and statistics, and default often to magical thinking (hence, the belief in “lucky numbers” and systems for winning at games of chance.)

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Our struggles with random patterns and chaos brings terror management theory into the picture. We’re trying to stave off awareness of our mortality and the meaninglessness of our lives. Evolutionary psychology suggests that pattern recognition helped us and statistical and probabilistic thinking did not. Again, it is the problem of trying to adapt hunter-gatherer hardware and software to modern information-age world.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I tend to think our species is likely to survive (unless we were to continue burning fossil fuels as we have for the last 200 years), but once critical systems of communications, supply chains, and transportation begin to fail (due to not planning how to adapt them and keep them running in the face of change) things get rapidly worse and large scale civilization and organization become impossible.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I imagine that pockets of humanity will survive if our mass communication and transportation systems fail. We may see widespread famine and casualties due to weather and natural disasters, but groups of people will survive. I’m sure. Unfortunately, we probably won’t have learned anything from our errors since the survivors are likely to be those who were least aware of the errors made.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I keep thinking of a book, “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller Jr. in which an order of monks are tending a nuclear reactor long after a nuclear war, with no understanding of the theory or physics of the thing, but just following the “Holy Writ” of the preserved manuals.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, this is why I’m down to only leaving the house once a week at the most. I’m actually waiting for a delivery to come today and am planning my meals and cooking for the week so I only have to make one trip to the store, probably for the next two weeks.

    Sheesh–to sneak out and go into a major crowded city for weeks… she oughta be locked up in prison back home for this crap, her and her dumb-ass friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was hoping she would be locked up here, but they don’t have the laws on the books to lock her up. God only knows what will happen to her in China, though.

      It really shows just how dangerous the UK variant can be. We all need to be cautious or else we’ll be seeing a whole new pandemic.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

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