Taj Mahal is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. (Photo Credit: PTI file)
All Archaeological Survey of India-protected monuments and central museums across the country will be shut till March 31 in view of the threat of coronavirus, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patal said on Monday. An order regarding the same will be issued soon, he said. "All ASI monuments and central museums will be shut till March 31 in view of the spread of coronavirus. We are taking this very seriously," the minister said.
COVID-19 extended its footprint in India on Monday with the eastern state of Odisha reporting its first coronavirus patient and one new case each in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Kerala, taking the total count to 114, Health Ministry officials said.
There are 3,691 centrally protected monuments and sites under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
The latest order comes after a high-level meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held on Monday.
In the meeting it was decided that a set of measures for social distancing as a preventive strategy should be implemented.
The GoM proposed closure of all educational establishments (schools, universities etc), gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres.
Students have been advised to stay at home. Online education to be promoted.
The culture ministry officials said given the fact that there are huge footfalls at such monuments as well as museums, it was imperative to shut them down in the wake of the disease outbreak.
The Union health ministry said four new coronavirus cases -- one each from Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Kerala-- have been reported, taking the total number of cases in the country to 114 on Monday.
These cases include 10 discharged patients, three cured and two deaths.
(With PTI inputs)