The Taj Mahal will be closed for tourists from Tuesday onwards amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Officials said that the decision was communicated to them on Monday night by the Ministry of Tourism in New Delhi.
The Taj Mahal's closure will be a major jolt to the domestic tourism industry, particularly the hospitality sector since the shutdown would lead to more cancellation of bookings in Agra. Most schools and entertainment facilities, including cinemas, have already been closed across India which has reported 114 positive cases and two deaths from the virus.
All ticketed monuments and museums have also been closed until March 31. The Taj Mahal has been a major attraction not only for tourists but also for visiting dignitaries and is responsible for keeping the local economy vibrant and growing. US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania had visited the Taj Mahal during his official visit to India last month.
The Union Health Ministry on Monday informed that a total of 114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India so far including 13 cured and two reported deaths.
Nearly 14,000 people were infected with the novel coronavirus globally over the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases above 167,500, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report on Tuesday.
A total of 167,511 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 13,903 new ones over the past 24 hours. At the same time, the global death toll rose by 862 to 6,606.