The Agra administration on Sunday decided to defer the reopening of Taj Mahal and other nearby monuments amid a rise in the number of coronavirus cases, ANI reported. Several monuments that are in non-containment zones across the country are expected to reopen from Monday. They have been shut since March to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh said the decision was in compliance with orders issued by the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary, which had allowed local administrations to take the final call on permitting activities in buffer zones outside containment areas.

Singh said there have been 55 new cases across 71 containment zones in the district in the last four days. The district has so far reported 1,295 cases and nearly 100 deaths. Uttar Pradesh had recorded 1,155 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking its total number of cases to 28,862. As many as 785 people have died so far.

“The decision has been taken in wake of the Covid-19 situation as the monument comes under ‘buffer zone’ areas,” Singh said in the order. “The Taj Mahal, which is in the Taj Ganj police station jurisdiction, is a ‘containment zone’.”

Other monuments that would be closed include Sikandra, Itmad-Ud-Daulah, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.

India added a record number of cases on Sunday. In its daily morning update on Sunday, the health ministry said the country reported more than 24,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours, taking the total tally to 6,73,165. This was the biggest daily surge in fresh infections. After consecutive days of record highs, India crosses Russia’s tally and became the third worst-affected nation on Monday with 6.97 lakh cases.

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