A Bendigo expat and teacher living in Mongolia is amazed Victoria have been allowed to stay open for so long.
Steve Saxton moved to capital city Ulaanbaatar four years ago and has recently watched the coronavirus pandemic spread to Australia on social media.
His international school was part of a Mongolian lockdown that began on 27 January.
"Our school has been delivering online learning for eight weeks and many of our expat families have returned to their home countries, including Australia, Mr Saxton said.
Mongolia went early and hard to protect against a pandemic that could cripple its health system, he said. Authorities closed borders, restricted domestic travel and banned social gatherings of groups larger than five.
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It has has given Mr Saxton a different perspective on the virus.
"Admittedly, I only have access to news through websites, YouTube, other social media and word of mouth. Its like seeing the world through a keyhole.
"I can't fathom peoples panic buying."
Mr Saxton is also watching in horror, "like everyone else", wondering why some people back home do not understand the gravity of the situation.
"Now more than ever I think the federal government decision not to close schools seems downright misinformed," he said.
Victoria decided last weekend to start public school holidays this week but is yet to determine whether to keep children at home for term two.
The federal government has favoured keeping schools open, subject to medical advice, to stop children losing schooling and to protect their at-risk family members.
That said, ordinary Mongolians' responses to the pandemic have sometimes been concerning.
"There is an undercurrent of nationalism and a handful of these people became emboldened by social media posts made by foreigners who were openly questioning the information released on coronavirus cases," Mr Saxton said.
"A French national who tested positive on arrival to work in Mongolia failed to self quarantine. Word of this spread fast and it was seized upon by the louder members of the Mongolian social media discontent."
Mongolian authorities had quickly acted on reports of foreigners being attacked, Mr Saxton said.
"Some of my colleagues decided not to do their weekend market shopping as they didn't feel safe," he said.
"That was a sad moment. It (Ulaanbaatar) is usually a much safer place to walk than most Australian capital cities because there is little street crime, apart from the occasional pick pocket or obnoxious drunk."
Mongolia has now confirmed 10 cases of the virus, all from people entering the country.
"We fully expect to be put into isolation if any person-to-person infections were announced," Mr Saxton said.
Restaurants are open and many only do contactless delivery with payments through online banking.
There is some confusion though.
Mr Saxton and his family were recently told they could not eat in a pizza shop because he had children with him.
"There seems to be some lack of consistent message from authorities about what rules restaurant owners should apply," he said.
"We were told to take away and then next day went to a different restaurant and ate in with no hassles."
Mr Saxton had planned to return to Australia with his his Mongolian family in June, but that appears unlikely given mounting international travel restrictions.
"I would like to come home, I worry that if I become very sick here and the number of cases had risen the health system probably would not cope," he said.
"All the local hospitals are full of flu cases and is struggling without the virus. There is one international hospital and it is quite small.
"My fellow Aussies and kiwis here are doing a pretty good job of staying positive considering the knowledge that so many expats have left town.
"The US and Australian embassies said we should head home but now there is pretty much no getting home."
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