Covid-19: ASI lifts cap on visitors at monuments

With daily Covid-19 cases drop, ASI lifts cap on the number of visitors at monuments

A limit to the number of visitors at a site has been left to the Superintending Archaeologist with the concurrence of the respective District Magistrate

Workers wearing PPE spray disinfectants at rock carvings of Mamallapuram after the monuments opened for public. Credit: PTI Photo

With India’s Covid-19 numbers on a downward spiral, the Archaeological Survey of India on Sunday announced that the cap on the number of visitors to centrally protected monuments and sites like Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb will be removed.

While the standard operating procedures for the protected monuments was revised following the drop in daily and active Covid-19 cases, the final decision on the maximum number of visitors to be allowed at a site has been left to the Superintending Archaeologist with the concurrence of the respective District Magistrate, who is the chairman of the district disaster management committee and responsible for pandemic management.

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“Selling of physical tickets may be resumed at some of the places where there are problems with the QR code and internet connectivity, whereas light and sound shows may be re-started,” the Union Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

The relaxation comes at a time when the Covid-19 numbers in India are on a steady decline for the last two months. On Sunday, 26,624 new cases were registered taking the tally to 1.31 crore while the number of active cases dropped to 3.05 lakh. The death toll stands at 145,477 of which 341 were added in the last 24 hours.

Since mid-September when India was consistently reporting 90,000 fresh cases daily, there has been a gradual decline in Covid-19 incidence and mortality in the last eight weeks. Though a second surge was feared due to festivals and polls in the states, such a surge never came.

On Sunday, 77% of new cases were reported from 10 states. Barring Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the remaining seven states recorded less than 2,000 fresh cases in the last 24 hours. Only one state, Maharashtra, has more than 50 Covid-19 deaths in the same period.

While relaxing the rules, the Culture Ministry said Covid protocols such as wearing masks and keeping a safe distance of six feet would continue. In addition, if there are local orders from the district or state administration that would have to be followed.