The Government of Mongolia has adopted early measures seeking to prevent and increase preparedness for an eventual COVID-19 outbreak. Starting from 27 January 2020, Mongolia closed all its educational institutions. On 13 February 2020, it declared a state of high alert, banning all public gatherings and events. Internal and international travel restrictions were imposed, including the suspension of all international traffic as of 10 March 2020 , when the first COVID-19 case in Mongolia was confirmed.
Ulaanbaatar is by far the biggest urban settlement in Mongolia, concentrating almost half of the country’s population (1.4 million individuals). It is a major destination, transit point and origin for population movements and as such at particular risk of contributing to a spread of COVID-19 to the entire country.
To increase its preparedness and response to COVID-19, the Governor’s Office of the Capital City has requested the assistance of IOM Mongolia to monitor all the incoming and outgoing flows of people through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology. The DTM flow monitoring in Ulaanbaatar commenced on 27 February 2020 and is scheduled to continue until 1 May 2020. A total of 300 IOM-trained enumerators are placed at six major observation points around the capital city and are collecting non-personal data on type of vehicle, passengers’ profile, place of origin and destination (up to second administrative level), as well as intended length of stay. This DTM intervention is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under the “Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia” project.
In Mongolia IOM is also cooperating with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) using DTM to track the mobility of people in all administrative subdivision outside Ulaanbaatar to improve preparedness for natural disasters, especially dzud – a phenomenon when the combination of extremely low temperature and snow makes it difficult for animals to survive. Since 2018 IOM Mongolia has worked with NEMA to build the capacity of the government to track climate change and disaster-related migration in order to inform a better coordinated response.