Mongolia reopens borders for vaccinated Covid-19 travellers

Mongolia's border reopening follows the easing of restrictions last month under the orange and yellow readiness levels. PHOTO: PEXELS

ULAANBAATAR (AFP) - Mongolia has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers, state media reported, rolling back coronavirus curbs that had kept the country isolated for two years.

The nation has implemented some of the world's toughest anti-Covid-19 measures since the start of the pandemic, largely sealing off its borders and imposing several lockdowns.

The curbs have battered its economy as businesses closed, exports plunged and hundreds of thousands faced precarious employment.

Mongolia's Cabinet approved a resolution downgrading the pandemic "state of readiness" from orange to yellow, effectively lifting all restrictions on business operations, state news agency Montsame reported Monday (Feb 14).

The move means the country of three million "fully opens its borders to international travel", Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene said, according to Montsame.

Declaring Mongolia open to fully jabbed tourists and investors, he reportedly said the government would "put efforts into creating the necessary conditions to ensure safety... for all those arriving in the country for business and tourism purposes".

Mr Oyun-Erdene's predecessor resigned last year during protests and public anger over the treatment of a coronavirus-positive woman and her newborn baby.

She had been transferred to a disease control centre in hospital pyjamas and plastic slippers despite temperatures of minus 25 deg C.

An aggressive Covid vaccination campaign has since helped turn the tide, with 92 per cent of Mongolian adults now fully inoculated and more than half in targeted groups having received a booster, according to Montsame.

Mongolia has recorded 885,000 coronavirus cases and more than 2,000 deaths during the pandemic, according to World Health Organisation data.

The border reopening follows the easing of restrictions last month under the orange and yellow readiness levels.

Official advisories on wearing face masks, social distancing and hand sanitising remain in place.

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