Mongolia’s capital to be on lockdown during Lunar New Year due to COVID-19

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ULAN BATOR, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — Mongolia’s State Emergency Commission (SEC) on Wednesday decided to impose lockdown measures again here in the capital city Ulan Bator during the traditional White Moon festival or the Lunar New Year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total lockdown for a period of two weeks in the city will take effect on Feb. 11 or Lunar New Year’s Eve known as “Bituun” in Mongolia, according to the SEC.

“During this holiday, people visit their parents, relatives and friends. So, there is no other way but to reimpose a 24-hour strict lockdown in the capital city to prevent the situation of coronavirus infection from getting worse,” Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan, head of the SEC or deputy prime minister, said at a press conference.

Last month, the Mongolian government made a decision not to publicly celebrate the traditional White Moon festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Mongolians are still preparing for the holiday which is actually a combination of ringing the old year out and the new year in, as well as a celebration when families get together.

Mongolia confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. Its first local transmission was detected in early November, when a woman tested positive after her husband returning from Russia finished his 21-day mandatory quarantine.

The incident triggered a nationwide lockdown that was later extended in Ulan Bator and two provinces until Dec. 11. After that, the Mongolian government reimposed lockdown measures in Ulan Bator, which was the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 6 and extended the strict all-day lockdown until Jan. 11 to curb resurging local cases.

So far, Mongolia has reported 1,859 COVID-19 cases, and more than 1,000 of them were detected in Ulan Bator, home to over half of the country’s 3.3 million population. Enditem

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