Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not want him at the G20 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits.
The premier arrived in Phnom Penh on the evening of November 15, along with all member of his delegation to the G20 Summit, which is slated to run in Bali, Indonesia, through November 16.
In his special audio address to the nation upon his arrival, the premier said he had to cancel his appearance at the G20 Summit and the upcoming APEC meeting out of concern for the health of other leaders, noting that more than half of them had attended the November 10-13 ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh.
“Last week, I worked … up to 15 hours. So, the exhaustion must have given Covid a chance to attack me. I will try to get treatment,” he said, adding that he is currently in good health, without any uncommon symptoms.
He also brushed off claims by unnamed critics that the infection may have been caused by leaders of some countries who intended to bar him from the G20 in Bali and the APEC Leaders’ Informal Dialogue scheduled to be held in Thailand later this week.
“Actually, no one had any bad intention to prevent me from attending both the G20 and APEC summits. I don’t want any suspicion that could cause confusions. G20 [host] Indonesia wants the attendance of the ASEAN Chair, and APEC host Thailand also wants me to be present there,” he said.
Hun Sen said he was slated to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmuel Macron in the Thai capital Bangkok before testing positive for Covid-19.
The premier also extended his thanks to King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk for wishing him a quick recovery, and to his compatriots for wishing him well.