Indian Botanic Garden will remain closed to all visitors, including morning walkers, indefinitely from May 10 because of the surge in Covid cases, the garden authorities said.
The decision was taken on Friday by the Botanical Survey of India director, A.A. Mao.
Visitors to the garden had dwindled during the normal hours, between 9am and 5pm, because of the pandemic but morning walkers continued to throng the garden from 5.30am to 7.30am.
“The security guards were getting exposed to the virus. So we decided to close it,” said a senior scientist at the garden.
The garden authorities had issued 5,000 passes to morning walkers. On any given day, around 3,000 walkers would visit the garden.
On weekends, it would rise to 4,000, said the scientist.
“The walkers would also be impatient about the screening process because it was taking time to record their temperature and ensure they were sanitising their hands and wearing masks. The time period was also limited as all walkers had to be out by 7.30am,” said the scientist.
Asked when the garden would reopen, he said: “The director will take a decision when the time comes.”
Bengal on Friday recorded 19,216 new infections, 112 deaths and 17,780 recoveries. The number of active cases has risen to over 1.24 lakh.
Of the 112 deaths, 28 were reported from Calcutta and 33 from North 24-Parganas, , the two worst hit districts in the state.
While Calcutta recorded 3,915 new infections, North 24-Parganas reported 3,957.