ULAANBAATAR (MONGOLIA) – A protest in the Mongolian capital city over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the resignation of Mongolia’s PM, Khurelsukh Ukhnaa. The parliament has approved the resignation of the PM Ukhnaa who will be replaced by Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai, the chief cabinet, reported the state news agency, Montsame.
The protests erupted on Wednesday over what some Mongolians saw as the inhumane treatment of a COVID-19 patient and her newborn baby.
A video footage showed the patient, still in her nightgown and slippers in freezing conditions, being relocated with her baby to a specialist quarantine facility run by Mongolia’s National Center of Communicable Diseases.
Khurelsukh said in a resignation statement submitted on Thursday that he should “assume the responsibility upon himself and accept the demand of the public.”
The protests triggered the dismissal of senior health officials. Mongolia’s deputy prime minister and health minister also resigned over the incident.
While Khurelsukh said in his resignation speech that there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Mongolia so far, the health ministry says there have been three fatalities.
Khurelsukh, of the Mongolian People’s Party, won a landslide election last June, but the country has been plagued by political instability.
This incident added to the growing public dissatisfaction with Mongolia’s economic situation and lack of job opportunities.
The World Health Organization had praised Mongolia in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic for its handling of the health crisis. However, it has recently been battling an outbreak caused by an infected driver entering from Russia.
Mongolia which has a population of around 3 million, has reported 1,584 COVID cases.