Coronavirus - Covid -19 - Mongolia FAQs

Last updated May 28th 2020

This is our webpage dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on travel to Mongolia and also our plans for our 2020 and 2021 trips. It also has links to blog posts that you might find useful if you’re self-isolating – such as books about Mongolia.

Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Hubei Province in China, the Mongolian government has been proactive rather than reactive in taking ongoing precautions whilst at the same time, trying to prepare. Although Mongolia is the least densely populated county in the world, its capital city Ulaanbaatar has a high density of people. Also, Mongolia typically experiences a high number of seasonal cases of pneumonia and flu in the winter months as well as a limited health care system. It also has a limited number of Covid testing kits. In the future, it could be that the Mongolian government shifts its strategy from extreme containment towards mitigation but this is unsure at present.

For our 2020 trips we are applying a wait and see policy rather than cancelling outright. If the ongoing situation results in the cancellation of your trip by you or by EL, then we look at a variety of options including giving refunds. Each guest is treated individually. For more details including our revised booking conditions, click the ‘We’re keeping 2021 at 2020 prices’ box below.

We appreciate though that our guests cover a wide range of nationalities and each country’s government will have different restrictions in place and that it is a changing situation. Before making final travel plans check with us on travel restrictions to Mongolia as well as checking your local government travel advisory and the World Health Organisation for the latest travel advice. Only you can make the decision to travel or not. Weigh it all up and make a (CALM) decision that you feel comfortable with.

Whilst we wait, we are working on our ‘Everyone Travels Safely’ strategy – making sure that when Mongolia opens again for tourism we keep everyone safe – our guests, our team and the community we work with and support. When this is ready we will publish it on our website and include it in our Online Documents Page.

For now, the details below are the best we have at this stage and will be updated weekly with the updates dated.

It is clear that we will all be affected by the impact of the coronavirus over the next few months. It is an anxious time for everyone but now is a time for community and togetherness and looking out for those more vulnerable than ourselves. With this in mind, as well as assisting our guests, we are also trying to support our extended Mongolian team who are obviously concerned about the potential impact on their livelihoods as we all weather the storm. Like all storms it will pass but until it does we appreciate your flexibility and understanding. We’re also fundraising to help support the network of Mongolian people, families and projects that we work in long-term local community partnership with and that have been impacted by Covid-19. Find out more here – https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/eternal-landscapes-mongolia.Thank you again.’ Jess & the (extended) EL Team

Does Mongolia Have Any Confirmed Cases of Covid-19?

  • As of May 27th, Mongolia has 148 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 37 recovered and no deaths. All are imported cases (Mongolians or expat workers returning to Mongolia on emergency flights). Anyone returning to Mongolia is immediately placed in quarantine for 21 days. There are no cases within the community.
  • As of May 14th, Mongolia has 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 15 recovered and no deaths. All are imported cases (Mongolians or expat workers returning to Mongolia). Anyone returning to Mongolia is immediately placed in quarantine for 21 days. There are no cases within the community.
  • As of April 30th, Mongolia has 38 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and no deaths. All are imported cases (Mongolians or expat workers returning to Mongolia). Anyone returning to Mongolia is immediately placed in quarantine for 21 days. There are no cases within the community.
  • As of April 23rd, Mongolia has 35 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and no deaths. All are imported cases (Mongolians or expat workers returning to Mongolia). Anyone returning to Mongolia is immediately placed in quarantine for 21 days. There are no cases within the community.
  • As of April 15th, Mongolia has 30 confirmed cases of Covid-19. All are imported cases (Mongolians or expat workers returning to Mongolia). There are no cases within the community.
  • As of April 6th, Mongolia has 15 confirmed cases (13 of which are active) of Covid-19 – a French expat who arrived into the country on March 3 and the remaining are Mongolians returning on emergency flights. Two people have recovered.
  • As of March 29th, Mongolia has 11 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – a French expat who arrived into the country on March 3 and 11 Mongolians returning on emergency flights.
  • As of March 20th, Mongolia has 6 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – a French expat who arrived into the country on March 3 and 5 Mongolians returning on emergency flights.
  • On March 10th, Mongolia confirmed its first case of Covid-19 – a French expat who arrived into the country on March 3.
  • As of March 6th 2020, Mongolia has no confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Travel Advisory For/Against Travel To Mongolia

At Eternal Landscapes Mongolia, we are both a Mongolian and UK registered company. As a result, we refer primarily to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. As of March 18th, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to Mongolia, due to current travel and entry restrictions implemented by the Mongolian Government related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are also members of The TRIP group (Travel Risk & Incident Prevention) and look to them for updates as well as those from the WHO.

The following restrictions have been put in place by the Mongolian government:

  • All foreign nationals will be denied entry to Mongolia until further notice.
  • Mongolia has suspended ALL flights until at least June 30 including those from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Busan, Berlin, Istanbul, Moscow and Astana.
  • The suspension of all international rail routes until at least June 30.
  • All public gatherings, events, and meetings, such as conferences, sporting events, and concerts, are prohibited until at least June 30.
  • All schools and institutions of higher education are closed until Sept 1st, 2020.
  • The closure to foreign nationals of road crossings between Mongolia and Russia.
  • The closure of all borders between China and Mongolia until further notice.

Background Facts

  • Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface.  Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. The term ‘coronavirus’ refers to a family of viruses that can cause relatively mild illnesses, like the common cold but the coronavirus that recently spread from the Hubei region of China – termed COVID-19 – is a new strain of coronavirus.

Whether COVID-19 will be declared a pandemic rather than just an epidemic depends on certain factors. An epidemic is a sickness such as influenza, or the plague, that spreads among a population at a particular time. The definition of a pandemic according to the World Health Organisation is the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity.’ 

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – 2003

SARS is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003  and affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8000 cases.

H1N1 / 09 Influenza Virus –  2009

It is estimated that 11–21% of the then global population (of about 6.8 billion), or around 700–1400 million people contracted the illness. However, with about 150,000–575,000 fatalities during the first year the virus circulated, it is considered to have a lower fatality rate of 0.01-0.08%.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Is an ongoing viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and that has since spread to several other countries.  From 2012 until 15 January 2020, the total number of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection cases reported globally to WHO is 2506 with 862 associated deaths.

Use the following (excellent) data map tracking the current outbreak of COVID-19 by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University. They are tracking the COVID-19 spread in real-time on their interactive dashboard with data available for download.

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Extras

Consider the following:

  • If you have purchased travel insurance or if you have yet to purchase it, check if you will be covered for the following:
  1. Am I covered if my government later warns against ‘essential travel’ to Mongolia?
  2. Am I covered if there’s no government advisory to Mongolia, but my flight is cancelled and I can’t travel as a result? If so, what’s covered ?
  • If you want to cancel your trip because you are worried you might catch coronavirus, you might be covered by insurance as long as you booked before January 30th, which is when the World Health Organisation declared this coronavirus as a global health emergency. You also might not be. So …
  1. If your existing policy doesn’t have cover for cancellation, you need then ask your insurance company if you can get an add-on or upgrade to your existing policy. If not, consider buying another policy. Many travel insurance companies are now offering travellers the option of a Cancel-For-Any-Reason (CFAR) policy add-on. This means, basically, that you can cancel your trip for any reason and be covered for it (or a large percentage of it). If you’re planning a trip later in the year and are yet to book, CFAR will offer some peace of mind.
  2. If you’re booked to travel to Mongolia later in the year but have not yet purchased travel insurance, then consider doing it soon.  Insurance policies that will cover cancellations to official no-go Covid-19 areas will only pay out if you got the insurance BEFORE formal guidance changes – if it does.
  • Remember, your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and medical emergency repatriation in the event of illness or injury (including the deterioration of known medical conditions).
  • Consider your personal situation before you travel: Your age, your physical condition, and medical history. If you have an underlying health issue, discuss your travel plans with your doctor.  If they recommend that you do not travel you should obtain a letter confirming this  from your doctor.  Using this letter you may be able to claim back your Mongolian holiday costs through your travel insurance.
  • If you already have a flight booked to Monglia, call your airline (or booking agency) to speak to them about their fees for changing the flights and / or cancellation. The same applies if you are considering booking flights – call the airlines that you are considering using to check if they think they will be offering flights when you’re considering travelling. And also check their fees for changing or cancelling the ticket. Hopefully, you will not need to make any changes to your trip but it is good to know in advance what the airline will charge you.
  • For those requiring a visa to Mongolia, check with your closest Mongolian Embassy for the final date you can realistically apply for your Mongolian visa. Most embassies now offer a one or two-day express service with five-days typically being the maximum length of time needed for an application.

Government Of Canada travel advice to Mongolia – https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mongolia

World Health Organisation webpage for the coronavirus – https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

Practise good hygiene at home and abroad. It’s as much about keeping others safe as it is keeping yourself safe. WHO’s general recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one metre from people are good starting points. Some of their specific recommendations include:

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and hot water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (alcohol content of a minimum of 60%) for at least 20 seconds (or to the tune of Happy Birthday). Lather (or gel) your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your mouth and nose.
And also important is your mental health. Remember to take time to turn off your phone, the television, your iPad and limit your exposure to screens and social media. Go outside and get some fresh air and a break from the 24-hour news cycles.
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