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09 Mar 2020 | 11:48 PM UTC

Mongolia: First COVID-19 case confirmed March 10 /update 6

Health authorities confirm first case of COVID-19 on March 10; flight suspensions to South Korea, Japan, and Russia extended until March 28



Mongolia's National Emergency Agency confirmed the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country on Tuesday, March 10. The patient is a French national working in the capital Ulaanbaatar who arrived in the country on a flight via Moscow. Health authorities are screening 120 people who may have come into contact with the individual.

The government has extended flight restrictions to and from South Korea, Japan, and Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude (Russia) until at least Saturday, March 28. Flights between Mongolia and China also remain suspended. Mongolian nationals living in countries with suspended direct flights to Mongolia are still able to return via Moscow. As of Monday, March 9, an entry ban is in effect for all foreign nationals traveling from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, as well as those who have visited the countries within the past 14 days prior to arrival. Mongolian nationals will be allowed to enter the country but will be placed in quarantine for 14 days. 

Other internal transportation restrictions also remain in place as of Tuesday. Checkpoints are in place at entry points around Ulaanbaatar and special permission is required to enter the capital. Intercity passenger transport services, including domestic flights and travel by private vehicle, to Ulaanbaatar have been suspended until at least 07:00 (local time) on Monday, March 16.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and 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 February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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 non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.