On Monday, January 27, the Mongolian government closed border crossings with China to foot and vehicle traffic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 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.
No cases of the virus have been confirmed in Mongolia to date.
Further spread of the disease is possible over the near term, particularly during the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday. Additional travel interruptions and screening measures at travel hubs are also likely in the short term.
The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31. Authorities are still investigating the primary source of the outbreak, but the first cases were connected to a seafood market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have also been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency panel in Geneva (Switzerland) on January 23 to discuss the virus, ultimately deciding that it was too early to classify the outbreak as a "public health emergency of international concern." As of January 27, cases of the virus have been confirmed in France, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, Macao, and Taiwan and suspected cases have been reported in Mexico and Cote d'Ivoire. A total of 2801 cases have been confirmed worldwide alongside 80 deaths. Virus screening measures are being implemented at airports worldwide.
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.
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