Experts fear coronavirus is spreading undetected in southeast Asia

In Cambodia, which has increasingly gravitated into China’s orbit, Prime Minister Hun Sen insists he won’t cut air travel, beyond suspending the six weekly flights from Wuhan. He also refuses to evacuate citizens stranded in Wuhan, as other countries have done. While Beijing chided the U.S. for banning Chinese travelers, saying it “set a bad example,” Hun Sen earned plaudits when he flew to China earlier this month.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

But Hun Sen’s vehement denial of the disease’s risks has stoked fears that Cambodia, a tourism hotspot with limited health resources, will become yet another vector of transmission.

“The cost of his decision is the health of his people,” says Sophal Ear, an expert on Cambodian politics at Occidental College in California. “Cambodia has become the weakest link: a country with poor health care, poor disease surveillance, and a long rap sheet of non-reporting.”