We haven’t made a post about the pandemic and Mongolia in awhile, and it seems a good time to check back in to that situation. For most of last year, Mongolia was able to keep Covid-19 at bay by closing all borders (land and air) and keeping up strict quarantine, social distancing, and mask laws. Unfortunately, the virus did eventually make it into the country at the end of 2020. By March, community spread greatly increased the number of cases (see screenshot below). To date, there have been nearly 65,000 cases of Covid-19 in Mongolia with a recorded 307 deaths.
Mongolia has begun to distribute vaccines to both locals and foreigners alike, staggering the rollout by prioritizing healthworkers, those in education, and at-risk groups. Travel restrictions are loosening up to a degree, but it is still quite difficult to travel to Mongolia. Over the last year, the majority of travel into the country was for Mongolians stranded abroad, but those flights were all chartered flights and required a lottery system to see who could fly back (followed by extensive quarantines). Some of our friends and former students have been stranded abroad for the last year, which is challenging and lonely. We are thankful for video calls that have allowed us to connect with them over the past 12-ish months!