COVID-19 pandemic in Mongolia

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COVID-19 pandemic in Mongolia
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationMongolia
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseDornogovi
Arrival date10 March 2020 (6 months and 18 days)
Confirmed cases313 [1]
Recovered305 [1]
Deaths
0[1]
Government website
https://covid19.mohs.mn/

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Mongolia when its first case was confirmed in a French man who traveled from Moscow to Dornogovi on 10 March 2020.[2]

Background[edit]

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.[3][4]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[5][6] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[7][5]

Prevention[edit]

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.[8]

On 27 January 2020, the Mongolian government announced they would close the border with China. They began closing schools on the same day.[9]

In February 2020, the Mongolian government cancelled Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year.[10] Around the holiday, severe limitations were placed on travel within the country.[11][9] Major events were cancelled in March as well, causing economic difficulty for people whose incomes depend on tourism.[9]

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.[9] The government limited international flights and trains and closed its land borders.[12] Various businesses were closed, including churches, bars, and saunas. Sports, cultural activities, and restaurants were restricted.[9]

On March 22, the Cabinet Secretariat decided to close schools and cancel activities until the end of April.[10]

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.[10]

Almost 50% of the public regarded the government's response measures to the COVID pandemic as successful according to a May 2020 opinion poll.[13]

Timeline[edit]

Imported cases[edit]

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.[2][14]

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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[15]

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.[8]

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.[16]

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.[17]

Community transmission[edit]

As of 25 August, there have been no confirmed cases of community transmission.[16] Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar is the most vulnerable place in the country for community transmission with more than 300 people per square km[18] 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.[19]

Release of evacuees into general society[edit]

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.[20] 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.[21] 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).[20]

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.[22]

Aid[edit]

The Mongolian government provided aid to China in February 2020.[10]

The U.S. government pledged $1.2 million to help Mongolia fight COVID-19.[10]

Statistics[edit]

Chart based on daily live updates from Ministry of Health of Mongolia as reported through mainstream media:[23]

New cases and deaths per day

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2020 оны 09 дүгээр сарын 14 өдрийн нөхцөл байдлын мэдээ". covid19.mohs.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 14 September 2020. }}
  2. ^ a b c d "Монголд ирсэн франц иргэнээс "COVID-19" илэрлээ". MONTSAME News Agency (in Mongolian). Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  3. ^ Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. ^ "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  7. ^ "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Тусгай үүргийн онгоцоор ирж тусгаарлагдсан иргэдийн гурваас нь COVID-19 илэрлээ" (in Mongolian). 16 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Breanna. "Mongolia Announces 3 New COVID-19 Cases, Totaling 4: How They Got Coronavirus Precautions Right". Forbes. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Mongolia's Small-Country Strategy for Containing COVID-19". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Inter-city traffic movement to be suspended during Tsagaan Sar". MONTSAME News Agency. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  12. ^ "All flights to and from Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan to be halted". MONTSAME News Agency. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  13. ^ Weekly, Mongolia (15 June 2020). "Voters Want Strongman Rule Instead of Weak Parliament". Mongolia Weekly. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Mongolia confirms its first coronavirus case in French worker". Reuters. 10 March 2020.
  15. ^ "More than 120 people taken to isolation after contact with coronavirus patient".
  16. ^ a b Монгол Улсад шинэ коронавирусийн 11 дэх тохиолдол бүртгэгдлээ [11th case of novel coronavirus recorded in Mongolia] (in Mongolian). Ikon.mn. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  17. ^ "The Government is about to make yet another MISTAKE by sending further charter flights". Gogo Mongolia.
  18. ^ Weekly, Mongolia (21 March 2020). "Is Mongolia ready for the COVID's worst-case scenario?". Mongolia Weekly. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  19. ^ Mongolia, Weekly (9 August 2020). "Many still stranded abroad by the pandemic". Mongolia Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Isolation of 1000 citizens brought on charter flights will be extended by 7 days". Gogo Mongolia.
  21. ^ "B.Uuganbayar: There was even a case where food served with biscuits was thrown back at a worker's face". Gogo Mongolia. 25 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Many still stranded abroad by the pandemic". Mongolia Weekly. 9 August 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Coronavirus cases have reached 37". Ikon News. Ikon News. 25 April 2020.

External links[edit]