• The first COVID-19 case in Mongolia was confirmed on 10 March 2020. Of the 331 suspected Mongolian cases reported between 6 January and 14 April 2020, 31 cases (9.4 per cent), all imported, have been confirmed, of which five have recovered.
The measures taken to prevent an outbreak of the COVID-19 are having serious impacts on children.
• The closure of all education facilities has directly affected more than 900,000 children under the age of 18 in 2,200 schools and kindergartens with limited alternative care arrangements for the most vulnerable children
• Significant secondary impacts of childcare patterns are being observed, such as protection and safety: in March, reports on physical abuse of children increased by 32.9 percent compared to the previous month, and by 46.8% compared to February 2019 reports, while emotional abuse in February 2020 was 57.6 per cent higher compared with February 2019*
• The people who are under the poverty line are at risk of slipping into poverty, as the number of registered unemployed people rose in the first quarter of 2020.
In support to the national response, UNICEF strategy and interventions focus on (i) Risk Communication and community engagement (RCCE); (ii) capacity strengthening of health facilities and provision of medical consumables and essential equipment; (iii) WASH and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) ; (iv) Support to the continuity of services ( Health, Nutrition, continuous learning and child protection services including psychosocial support for mental health ) ; (v) continuous monitoring of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 to children and their families.
The UNICEF Mongolia response plan is 26 per cent funded: out of the US$ 5,837,400 currently needed, US$ 1,513,080 had been received by 16 April 2020. The contribution was received from bilateral donors (Government of Japan and United States Agency for International Development), multilateral donors (Asian Development Bank, Global Partnership for Education) and philanthropists.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Mongolia shut its borders with China on 27 January 2020 and closed all schools, kindergartens and public gatherings as preventive measures against the COVID-19 outbreak, which seem to be working so far. The first case of COVID-19 was reported on 10 March and as of 16 April, 31 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Mongolia, all imported. On 14 April, the State Emergency Commission (SEC) announced its decision to further extend the current preventive measures until 1 September 2020. The international borders remain closed and only charter flights repatriating Mongolian citizens who were abroad are allowed to land. Upon arrival, passengers must follow strict protocols, including quarantine for three weeks.
The Government’s decision to close all education facilities – including schools, kindergartens, 24-hour kindergartens and school dormitories – has directly affected more than 900,000 children under the age of 18 in 2,200 schools and kindergartens. This has particularly affected the most vulnerable children as there are no alternative care arrangements. Significant secondary impacts on childcare patterns, nutrition, protection and safety are being observed, including effects on household expenses and income because many parents need to stay home to look after their children.
The latest statistics from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection demonstrate increased numbers of child injuries and home accidents, which remains a major concern. The increase is attributed to children often being left alone at home without supervision when parents go out to work. The new joint report by the National Statistical Office of Mongolia and the World Bank, ‘Mongolia Poverty Update’, provides the latest analysis on poverty trends and population profiles in Mongolia based on the 2018 Household Socioeconomic Survey. The national poverty rate was 28.4 per cent in 2018. A further 15 per cent of the total population is clustered just above the national poverty line, and at risk of slipping into poverty in the event of any unanticipated shocks. Many of the poor, in particular low-skilled wage workers, are missing out on the benefits of recent capital-intensive mining sector-led growth. In February 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, the number of registered unemployed increased by 31,000 from the previous month.