Tourists and residents in the Mongolian city of Ulgii have been stranded for almost a week by a quarantine put in place after two people were believed to have died from the bubonic plague.
The victims, a couple both reported to be in their thirties, are said to have contracted the disease by eating raw marmot meat.
As suspicions arose over the cause of their deaths, the Mongolian Ministry of Health initiated a quarantine over the area from May 1, which included the western city of Ulgii near the border with China and Russia.
Flights into the city were also diverted or cancelled, and a Mongolia-Russia border crossing was temporarily closed.
Among those under quarantine were a number of European tourists from Russia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany.
One such tourist – Russian national Evgeny Viluzhanin – wrote on Facebook: “thanks to the woolly fat hamster, I had to spend three days in the city of Ulgii.”
He added: “While we were cold on the glacier, quarantine was announced here, and at night at the entrance of the city we were wildly tired and embraced by local police.”
Another Russian tourist was quoted in the Siberian Times as saying she thought the bubonic plague was something to only exist in the Dark Ages.
“This is just so surreal,” she said.
Mongolian authorities eventually lifted the quarantine on Monday evening, allowing tourists to leave.