COVID-19 pandemic in Mongolia
This article needs to be updated.July 2020)(
|COVID-19 pandemic in Mongolia|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||10 March 2020 (6 months and 18 days)|
|Confirmed cases||313 |
On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.
The government announced various measures to control the outbreak. These include closure of air and land border crossing between China and Mongolia since 27 January until further notice and suspension of all international flights and passenger trains until 30 April. All public events including conferences, sports and festivals have been cancelled across the country, while all educational institutes are to remain closed until 30 April. Citizens are prohibited to travel to the countries affected by the outbreak and any travellers from there are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Any individuals caught lying about their travel history and health information at the borders stand to be penalized.
On 27 January 2020, the Mongolian government announced they would close the border with China. They began closing schools on the same day.
In February 2020, the Mongolian government cancelled Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year. Around the holiday, severe limitations were placed on travel within the country. Major events were cancelled in March as well, causing economic difficulty for people whose incomes depend on tourism.
Other epidemic control measures included temperature checks for passengers entering Ulaanbaatar, health questionnaires, and requiring face masks on Ulaanbaatar public transportation and at the airport. The government limited international flights and trains and closed its land borders. Various businesses were closed, including churches, bars, and saunas. Sports, cultural activities, and restaurants were restricted.
On March 22, the Cabinet Secretariat decided to close schools and cancel activities until the end of April.
As of March 24, 2020, the country was in a state of "heightened awareness", not national emergency. At that time, 2,034 people were in quarantine, with the number expected to increase as Mongolians returned from other countries.
Almost 50% of the public regarded the government's response measures to the COVID pandemic as successful according to a May 2020 opinion poll.
On 10 March, Deputy Prime Minister Ölziisaikhany Enkhtüvshin announced that a French national arriving in Ulaanbaatar via a flight from Moscow was the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the country.
The patient, a 57-year-old male, first showed signs of a fever on 7 March. Initial tests confirmed that the patient was positive for coronavirus, and the patient was told to self-isolate in Dornogovi. Regardless, the patient ignored the recommendation and broke his isolation. Similarly, two close contacts of the patient left Dornogovi despite recommendations by health officials to remain in the province. The State Emergency Commission said that the two would be held legally responsible for their actions. More than 120 people that have had close contact with the patient have been quarantined, and over 500 people with indirect contact are under medical observation.
After special transit planes have started evacuating those who are considered "vulnerable" to the disease from European areas, Japan and Korea, three more people have been reported as being infected with COVID-19 on 21 March. One of the cases is severe and nine people in the immediate vicinity of the case have been isolated.
On 27 March, one more person in isolation was tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total of imported cases to 11. The person was one of 221 people tested after being immediately isolated upon disembarking from an Istanbul-Ulaanbaatar charter flight approved by the National Emergency Commission.
That same day, Onom Foundation protested that Mongolia only has 160 ventilators (1 per 20,000 compared to America's 1 per 2,000) and that importing further cases will put undue stress on Mongolia's already stretched health care system.
As of 25 August, there have been no confirmed cases of community transmission. Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar is the most vulnerable place in the country for community transmission with more than 300 people per square km and half of the poor people having no access to improved sanitation. The WHO warned the country had the highest risk of local transmission during the flu season towards October and November months.
Release of evacuees into general society
On 27 March, the National Emergency Commission notified the public that the time of isolation of Mongolian evacuees (numbering 1,000) brought on charter flights will be extended by seven days in addition to the original 14 days. Food and board of the extra seven days amounting to 500 million MNT (180k USD) will be paid by the Government and each individual will be placed in a separate room from now on. This means 1000 evacuees will be released into the general population (in Ulaanbaatar) on 2–3 April. According to Deputy Director B.Uuganbayar of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) they will be advised to isolate themselves at home for an additional 14 days. Signatures promising compliance will be taken. A notice will be posted on their doors indicating the presence of an isolated person and neighbors will be encouraged to keep watch on them. The next charter flights have been pushed out accordingly and will take place on 2 April (UB-Seoul-UB) and 3 April (UB-Tokyo-UB).
During the summer months of 2020 there were still around 10,000 Mongolians stranded abroad unable to get on to the few evacuation flights to return to the country.
The Mongolian government provided aid to China in February 2020.
The U.S. government pledged $1.2 million to help Mongolia fight COVID-19.
Chart based on daily live updates from Ministry of Health of Mongolia as reported through mainstream media:
- New cases and deaths per day
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