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Mongolia closes China border to cars, shuts schools over virus fears

All 12 Mongolia-China border checkpoints for auto vehicles will be open on December 31 and will be closed on January 1, 2020, Wednesday for the New Year Holiday. Photo: Montsame. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

ULAANBAATAR, Jan 27, 2020, AFP. Mongolia has closed its border crossings with China to cars, temporarily shut schools and suspended public events to prevent a deadly virus from reaching its soil, authorities said, Channel NewsAsia reported.

The measures announced by the vast, landlocked country are the most drastic steps taken by any nation so far over concerns about coronavirus, that has rapidly spread across China.

Mongolia has not recorded any cases of the pneumonia-like virus, which has killed at least 81 people in neighbouring China and more than 2,700.

Almost a dozen countries have found cases, including in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Vice Prime Minister Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan said the decision was made because cases have been confirmed in China’s neighbouring region of Inner Mongolia.

“Pedestrians and cars are prohibited to cross the Chinese border,” Enkhtuvshin said on Sunday (jan 26), saying the schools and universities would stay shut until Mar 2, along with other public places such as gaming centres.

“Public events are also prohibited. Public events mean conferences, any public gatherings such as sports, entertainment or travel, and competitions,” he said.

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