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7 Mar, 2020 04:19

‘Shut down Taj Mahal!’ Agra mayor calls on Indian govt to shutter ALL historical monuments amid growing coronavirus outbreak

‘Shut down Taj Mahal!’ Agra mayor calls on Indian govt to shutter ALL historical monuments amid growing coronavirus outbreak

The mayor of Agra has urged the Indian government to temporarily shut down the country’s national monuments – including Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal – to limit the spread of the lethal coronavirus, as the number of cases climbed to 31.

“Foreign tourists in large numbers visit Agra, this increases the chances of spread of coronavirus in the city,” Mayor Naveen Jain told ANI, adding that until the outbreak is brought under control, historical sites nationwide should be closed to visitors.

I urge the government of India to close all historical monuments in the country, including the Taj Mahal.

India has seen a spike in cases of the illness over the last week, jumping from six to 31 in a matter of days, including 16 Italian tourists and one resident of New Delhi, the capital city. By tracing the Delhi resident’s contacts, the government determined that the man also infected six family members in Agra, each of them testing positive for the virus.

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Health authorities in Uttar Pradesh, where Agra is located, recently boosted efforts to screen for the virus in the hope of preventing it from spreading further, noting that, to date, “2,915 travelers from corona-affected countries have been identified and tracked by District Surveillance Units” and placed under observation, with more than 700 now in home isolation. Three individuals showing symptoms were also admitted for treatment at hospitals around the state, though their condition is stable.


The central government, meanwhile, has also stepped up its containment measures, suspending e-visas for travelers coming from new coronavirus hotspots – namely Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan – and imposing compulsory health screenings at 21 airports across the country.


The number of infections worldwide surpassed 100,000 on Friday, with just shy of 3,500 deaths. Though the outbreak was most severe in China’s Hubei Province, the viral epicenter, the rate of new cases in Europe and elsewhere in Asia has now surpassed that of mainland China. Despite the fast-climbing disease and death tolls, however, more than half of those afflicted have since recovered.

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