coronavirus agra

Cured patients accompanied by medical staff walk out of the Jiangjunshan section of the public health center for treatment in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Feb. 5. Three pneumonia patients infected with the novel coronavirus were cured and discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin/IANS photo)

AGRA — The Coronavirus scare has badly hit tourism in Agra.

"This is the peak tourist season, but the rush of tourists that used to be witnessed in the past is missing," said Ved Gautam, a tourist guide.

However, many in the local tourism industry feel that there are several other factors behind the drop in tourist footprint in Agra, as coronavirus is a recent phenomenon.

"Anyone who looks Mongloid or of Chinese descent is greeted with a frown or suspicion," a Taj Ganj shopkeeper commented.

Though there is a steady flow of tourists from Europe and the US, there is a discernible decline in the number of tourists from the East.

The district hospital and the SN Medical College hospital have made arrangements to isolate suspected patients coming from abroad, but the level of confidence in government health services is low.

"We are only praying to god that India be spared the kind of grim scenario China is facing, as our health infrastructure can not cope with a crisis of that dimension," said Shravan Kumar Singh, a social activist.

Three locals who have returned from China have been screened and their blood samples have been sent to Lucknow for investigation.

The state government has asked local authorities to remain alert and keep the level of preparedness high, as Agra is a major tourist centre visited by over 5 million tourists annually.

Doctors in Agra hope that conditions will improve with the temperature rising.

Tourist data available with the Agra Development Authority indicate a shortfall of one million compared to last year.

Tourism industry leaders have expressed concern over the falling number of tourists this year which could affect travel trade, emporiums, handicraft sales and the hospitality industry.

An Archaeological Survey of India official said the number of visitors at the Taj Mahal is on a decline, which is not a healthy sign.

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