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Taj Mahal and Agra Fort reopening on September 21

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The Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort will be reopening for public viewing from September 21, it was announced on Monday.

The officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the district administration said all necessary preparations and precautions were in place to welcome visitors to the historical monuments in Agra

Guidelines for social distancing including mask-wearing have been circulated. While only 5,000 people would be permitted to visit the Taj daily, the Agra Fort will allow only 2,500.

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Agra District Magistrate P.N. Singh made the announcement in a tweet.

The two world heritage monuments were closed since March 17 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. because of which the hospitality industry in Agra suffered a major dent.

Other historical monuments like Akbar’s tomb Sikandra, Etmauddaula, Mehtaab Bagh, Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted capital of Mughal emperor Akbar, Mariam’s tomb, Ram Bagh, and Chini ka Roza reopened from September 1. These monuments were reopened after 163 days of no tourists being allowed to visit.

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COVID in Agra

State government-run hospitals and the medical infrastructure, newly created to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, have come under tremendous strain as the number of fresh cases in the past 10 days has continued to surge alarmingly.

The Sunday lockdown saw Agra markets closed and traffic heavily curtailed. The three-day Sero-survey concluded on Sunday with 320 more samples. The antibody tests will help determine the extent of infection. The blood samples were being sent to the ICMR for analysis.

Meanwhile, the Lady Loyal women’s hospital was sealed for two days after a 40-year-old staff nurse succumbed to Covid-19. Two senior doctors of the medical college also tested positive. A number of health workers have been quarantined after they tested positive on Sunday.

Industry leaders welcomed the decision to reopen some smaller monuments but had also demanded the early reopening of the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort, and restarting air connectivity to Agra.

Some new flights are expected to start in October to connect Agra with Bangalore and Mumbai.

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