The Mongolian Government has taken early and very active measures to prevent and stop an eventual spread of the COVID-19. Besides closing all the educational institutions starting with January 27th and imposing international travel restrictions that are expanding along with the growing number of countries affected by COVID-19 globally, on 13 February 2020 the government also declared state of high alert. To prevent a possible spread of COVID during the Mongolian Lunar New Year (February 24-26, 2020), the Emergency Commission restricted all travel between aimags (provinces), as well as incoming and outgoing flows in the capital city. Ulaanbaatar is by far the biggest urban settlement in Mongolia concentrating almost half of the country’s population. It is a major destination, transition point and origin for population movements and as such may represent a powerful source for spreading COVID-19 to the entire country. To increase its preparedness and also an eventual response to COVID-19, the Governor’s Office of the Capital City has requested the assistance of International Organization for Migration, Mission to Mongolia (IOM) to take evidence of all the incoming and outgoing flows of people by implementing its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology. Based on a joint agreement to implement DTM between IOM and the Governor’s Office of the Capital City, a total of over 300 health and education system personnel have been trained as data enumerators and technical assistance was provided to set up the overall data collection and analysis framework. The pilot phase of the DTM flow monitoring in Ulaanbaatar was started on February 27th, 08:00 hrs while the roads were still closed for general free movement. The active implementation phase commenced when roads were opened for free circulation at 06:00 hrs on March 3rd and is scheduled to last until March 24th, 2020. Enumerators placed at 6 major checkpoints around the city (Emeelt, Baruunturuun, Gunt, Ulziit, Morin and Nalaikh) are collecting non-personal data on type of vehicle, passengers’ profile, place as well as length of stay at origin and destination on a 24/7 time-schedule. Although it is the first time it is used in a capital city, since 2004 DTM has been implemented in over 80 countries and over 40 million individuals have been tracked globally in 2018 alone. Most recently DTM was used to track population movements in regions affected by Ebola. In Mongolia National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and IOM used DTM since 2018 to track the mobility of people in all administrative subdivision outside Ulaanbaatar improving preparedness for natural disasters, especially dzud.
- International Organization for Migration
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