On Tuesday, April 28, the State Emergency Commission (SEC) announced that the suspension of international commercial flights would be extended through Sunday, May 31, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Cargo and medical flights continue to operate, and the government is organizing several chartered flights to repatriate Mongolian citizens abroad. Evacuation flights for foreign nationals in Mongolia also continue to be organized.
Additionally, on Tuesday, April 28, the Ulaanbaatar Emergency Committee announced an extension of the ban on public gatherings, including cultural and religious events, and the closure of recreational centers and bars until May 31. Travel remains strictly regulated country-wide, and foreign nationals remain prohibited from entering the country.
Authorities had previously announced that the use of face masks in public would be compulsory until at least Sunday, May 31, with those caught violating the directive facing fines of up to MNT 150,000 (USD 54).
As of Thursday, April 30, Mongolia has confirmed 38 cases of COVID-19, and no associated fatalities. All of Mongolia's cases thus far have been associated with international travel, with no reports of local transmission. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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