Red Fort shut indefinitely to prevent spread of bird flu

"Red Fort, Delhi, shall remain closed to public and general visitors until further order as a measure to control the spread of avian influenza," the ASI order said.
At least 15 carcasses of crows were found on the Red Fort premises in early January and some of them were sent to a laboratory in Punjab for tests.(ANI)
At least 15 carcasses of crows were found on the Red Fort premises in early January and some of them were sent to a laboratory in Punjab for tests.(ANI)
Updated on Feb 03, 2021 05:01 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

The Red Fort in Delhi has been indefinitely closed to the public as a measure to control the potential spread of bird flu, an order issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday has said. The ASI-protected monument has also been declared an “infected zone”.

“As per order received from the district magistrate (central)-cum- district disaster management authority, and in continuation to previous office orders of this office, it is hereby directed that the Red Fort, Delhi, shall remain closed to public and general visitors until further order as a measure to control the spread of avian influenza in the Red Fort area which is declared as (an) infected zone,” said the order issued on Monday, a copy of which HT has seen.

At least 15 carcasses of crows were found on the Red Fort premises in early January and some of them were sent to a laboratory in Punjab for tests. On January 19, one sample tested positive for the H5N1 virus that causes the avian influenza, following which the ASI shut the monument till January 26, and later extended the closure till January 31, officials said.

Also read: 96 more birds found dead in Maharashtra

Monday’s order of the ASI essentially stretches the closure of the monument for an indefinite period of time.

The historic site had witnessed violence on January 26 when hundreds of farmers, who were participating in a tractor rally -- part of the larger ongoing protest against the three contentious farm laws – stormed the Red Fort, and raised a religious flag alongside a farmer union flag and clashed with the police.

The report on the samples taken Red Fort had come just three days after an owl, found dead in the Delhi zoo, had tested positive for the bird flu.

Earlier in January, crows in at least three other locations in the city and ducks at Sanjay Lake in east Delhi were found infected, following which the government closed Delhi’s only wholesale poultry market in Ghazipur for 10 days. In the days that followed, multiple agencies had imposed temporary restrictions on poultry trade, transport of fowls and their serving in restaurants. The restrictions were lifted on January 14 after the government vouched that the poultry birds in Delhi were not infected with the H5N1 virus.

Currently, there is no restriction on poultry within the national capital.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021