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COVID-19 update | ASI closes down all protected sites, monuments until May 15

Earlier, the ASI opened Taj Mahal on September 21, 2020 for visitors after 6 months with strict coronavirus guidelines. It had said that there would be no window ticket sale like earlier, while visitors can scan the code to purchase tickets or book online through the ASI website.

April 15, 2021 / 08:24 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image


Amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Archaeological Survey of India on April 15 announced that all Centrally protected sites and monuments under it have been closed with immediate effect until May 15 or further orders.

"Due to the prevailing COVID situation, it has been decided to close all the centrally protected monuments/sites and museums under the Archaeological Survey of India with immediate effect and till 15th May 2021 or until further orders," the ASI statement said.

Earlier, the ASI opened Taj Mahal on September 21, 2020 for visitors after 6 months with strict coronavirus guidelines. It had said that there would be no window ticket sale like earlier, while visitors can scan the code to purchase tickets or book online through the ASI website.

Taj Mahal reopens for visitors after 6 months with strict coronavirus guidelines

The mausoleum, built in the northern city of Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, was closed on March 17 — before the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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After it was opened, ASI permitted only 5,000 tourists to visit the Taj Mahal per day a far cry from peak levels of 80,000 a day. Guidelines like social distancing and other health protocols during the visit were made mandatory.
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