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31 Jan 2020 | 09:17 AM UTC

Mongolia: Government closes borders to travelers from China February 1 /update 1

Mongolia to close borders to all travelers from China February 1; confirm travel itineraries

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Event

The Mongolian government announced on Friday, January 31, that it will close Mongolia's borders to all Chinese citizens and foreigners traveling from China from Saturday, February 1, through Monday, March 2, due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The travel restriction will apply to individuals traveling via air, rail, and road. Mongolians will also be prohibited from traveling to China from February 1 through March 2; however, Mongolians who are currently in China may return to Mongolia by normal routes until Thursday, February 6. After February 6, Mongolians in China will only be allowed to return via Ulaanbaatar's Chinggis Khaan International airport (ULN) or the Zamiin Uud rail border.

Borders with China have been closed to foot and vehicle traffic since Monday, January 27. Public events including conferences, sports, and entertainment events have been prohibited. Schools and universities have been shut until Monday, March 2, as well as public places such as gaming centers until further notice. To date, no cases of the virus have been confirmed in Mongolia.

Further spread of the virus is likely over the near term. 

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. 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 more than 20 countries and territories worldwide, including Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

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.

Advice

Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from Hong Kong and mainland China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands and wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments