Potala Palace in Tibet, the official residence of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, will be shut down from Monday until further notice as part of nationwide efforts in China to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, officials said on Sunday. The SARS-like virus has spread to all provinces except Tibet and has claimed 56 lives so far with confirmed cases of viral affliction reaching nearly 2000.
Hubei province capital Wuhan, a city of about 11 million, is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Potala Palace, a local landmark and major tourist attraction is a model of ancient architecture and home to over 100,000 pieces of cultural relics. It was listed as a key national cultural relic in 1961.
The decision to close down the palace was stated to be part of nationwide steps being taken by the Chinese central government to reduce mass movement of people to contain virus.
China has ordered all travel agencies to suspend sales of domestic and international tours as part of an effort to contain the spread of the virus.