All centrally protected monuments, museums and sites under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been closed with immediate effect till May 15 due to the surge in coronavirus cases in the country, the Union culture ministry said on Thursday.

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An order to this effect was issued by the ASI and it was tweeted by Culture Minister Prahlad Patel this evening.

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

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Last year, too, all monuments and sites maintained by the ASI were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.