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Coronavirus scare: Agra mayor writes to Centre seeking temporary shutdown of Taj Mahal

Agra reported around half a dozen suspected cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. All of them are from the family of a shoe exporter who had visited Milan last month in connection with an exhibition.

Published: 07th March 2020 03:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2020 03:46 PM   |  A+A-

Tourists with protective masks at the Taj Mahal in Agra on Tuesday, while their careless guide goes without a mask despite the coronavirus spread.

Tourists with protective masks at the Taj Mahal in Agra on Tuesday, while their careless guide goes without a mask despite the coronavirus spread. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW:  Agra mayor Naveen Jain, who also happens to be the president of the All India Council of Mayors (AICM), has shot off a letter to the Union tourism ministry demanding a temporary shutdown of archaeological and cultural monuments and sites across the country, including the Taj Mahal in Agra, till the third week of March to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Agra reported around half a dozen suspected cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. All of them are from the family of a shoe exporter who had visited Milan last month in connection with an exhibition. They have been shifted to the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi.

The Agra mayor reportedly claimed in his letter that as the archaeological sites were visited by thousands of foreigners on a daily basis, they could be potential spots for the spread of COVID-19. Though the situation is still under control in India, due precautions should be taken, he maintained.

While Agra ASI officials chose to be non-committal on the issue, Agra DM PN Singh said that the decision on shutting the monuments down rested with the central and state authorities. However, adequate precautions were being taken to meet any eventuality in the wake of the outbreak, he added.

Meanwhile, the UP government issued orders on Saturday to exempt employees of the state secretariat and CM's office from registering their biometric attendance till March 31 owing to the coronavirus scare. 

The state government’s order exempting these employees from biometric attendance came after an advisory issued by the Central Personnel and Training Department. The employees have been asked to register their attendance till March 31 through the system which was in place prior to the introduction of the biometric system. The step has been taken to check the spread of the coronavirus, said the state government notification issued on Saturday.



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