MONGOLIA REMAINS ONE OF THE LAST FEW COUNTRIES WITHOUT CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19
There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mongolia, even though we are located between China and Russia. This is no miracle but careful and smart actions taken by the Mongolian government and its people. Mongolians have been aware of the global epidemic and the seriousness of the situation started taking precautionary methods to prevent the disease. Most of the people are wearing masks and using hand-sanitizer daily.
Because of Mongolia's steppe customs population density is low and people are scattered around in the countryside. Furthermore, weather in Mongolia has been forgiving during this time with snowfalls, humid air conditions with lots of sunshine. This is one theory regarding why COVID-19 virus did not make its way to Mongolia.
In response to growing fears amid the spread of a novel strain of coronavirus, understanding if COVID-19 breaks into Mongolia, with a population of only 3 million people and not enough resources and lack of preparation for global epidemic Mongolian government took drastic measures to prevent from the decease. The following are the actions taken by the Mongolian government and people:
• Mongolia shut down its borders to China and closed all schools and public gatherings starting from January 31st to March 30. Moreover, Mongolian health organization is checking flight and train attendees who are traveling to Mongolia from other countries at the border. If there is a suspicious case the vehicle is getting quarantined. Even if there are no suspicious cases travelers are getting quarantined for 14 days in a hospital or in their home. Even the Mongolian president got quarantined after his visit to China recently.
• Ministry of Health of Mongolia has been sending daily SMSs with information on how to prevent from COVID-19 virus to every citizen's mobile phone for a month. Mongolians have been cooperative with the Mongolian Government's precautionary actions and some companies have started to give its employees the option to work from their homes.
• Before quarantine took hold some people who have been diagnosed with pneumonia have been tested with COVID-19 test and all of them resulted in negative.
• On February 5, the State Emergency Commission held a meeting to clear out a hospital in UB for use as a quarantine center for suspected patients and patients of coronavirus, and temporary quarantine facilities at Chinese border checkpoints are being built for incoming Mongolian nationals.
• Mask and hand-sanitizers have been distributed to Mongolia's coal drivers and vulnerable households. In Ulaanbaatar, many parents have been sending their children out to the countryside because they don’t have school, likely in an effort to save on childcare costs as much as to protect their children from potential exposure to coronavirus. In order to reduce the educational gap, schools and universities have been broadcasting lessons through televisions throughout the country, while most universities remained closed.
• In 11 February, the President of Mongolia issued a decree calling for the public to cancel the widespread celebrations of Tsagaan Sar holiday and Wrestling match, which is to be marked between 24 and 26 February. Tsagaan Sar which is usually celebrated big wide among many Mongolian's has been celebrated quietly with each household not visiting many people. To give you a perspective, average elders have guests ranging from 300-900 in a day during the Tsagaan Sar. But this year, it was between 10-30. Roads between cities have been closed during the celebration and opened on March 2. People video called their family and friends during the celebration and wished each other good fortune in the new year as is in tradition.
Mongolians have been supportive of the actions taken by the government and appreciated the dramatic measures to stay healthy country amid these frightful times. This cooperation between the government and its people is one of the biggest reasons why Mongolia has no confirmed case as of today. This has been one of the few times Mongolian citizens 100% agreed with and the government and its decisions.