All monuments, including the world-renowned Taj Mahal and Delhi's Red Fort, have been reopened to the public for the first time since the country went into lockdown in March to fight the spread of coronavirus. Over 3,400 monuments were shut down by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) on March 17, days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown.
Some 820 religious places under the ASI were reopened when the government announced a graded exit from the total shutdown under "Unlock1". The rest of the monuments have been reopened, however, states are free to decide whether to open all historical monuments or a few, based on the coronavirus situation. Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Pralhad Singh Patel, announced the decision on Twitter.
The decision to open the historical monuments comes at a time when the coronavirus cases across the country are increasing at an alarming rate daily.
India still continues to be the fourth worst-hit country in the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to John Hopkins University tally. India on Monday witnessed a spike of 19148 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally to 6,04,641 according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The number of active coronavirus cases in the country is 2,26,497 so far.
A total of 3,59,859 people has recovered and been discharged from hospitals. According to the Health Ministry data, 434 deaths were recorded in the last 24hours taking the COVID-19 death toll to 17,834.