Mongolia Effectively Bans International Travel


Mongolian officials have announced stringent measures to effectively cut off international travel from March 11 through at least March 28. Commercial flights connecting Mongolia with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey are to be suspended; authorities had previously imposed bans on flights from China, Japan, and South Korea. International train services with Russia are also to be suspended through at least March 28, and foreign nationals cannot utilize ports of entry on the Russian border. Mongolian nationals will be barred from traveling to Russia through at least March 31, while bans on travel with China remain in effect. Authorities are planning to charter flights to evacuate Mongolian citizens from affected countries. Mongolian officials may similarly allow other countries to schedule evacuation flights from Mongolia. Authorities are placing arriving Mongolian citizens who have recently traveled in China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, or Iran under a 14-day quarantine at their own expense. Travel restrictions are part of broad measures meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Extensions of movement controls are possible in the coming weeks, and possibly months.

Authorities also intensified domestic restrictions following confirmation of an imported COVID-19 case in Dornogovi Province. As of March 10, officials have suspended intercity travel – including bus, private vehicle, air, and rail transport – in the country through at least 0700 March 16. All businesses, except for grocery stores and restaurants, are to remain closed in Ulaanbaatar through at least March 16. Residents of Ulaanbaatar are required to register with local authorities before leaving the city. Schools will remain closed nationwide through at least March 30.

Coal exports to China have resumed through the Zamyn-Uud border checkpoint; however, coal exports through other border crossings remain suspended through at least March 15. Supply chain disruptions for goods coming from and going to China will continue for the duration of the restrictions.

Confirm all planned international travel to and from Mongolia. Prepare for immigration and customs delays. Plan for domestic transport disruptions; reconfirm all public transport schedules. Follow official instructions and closely monitor official announcements on any additional restrictions. Remain polite and nonconfrontational if questioned by security personnel. Avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Make allowances for likely increased employee absenteeism and supply chain disruptions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.



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