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World Heritage grottoes to reopen as China contains latest COVID-19 resurgence

Updated: Nov 25, 2021 Xinhua Print
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LANZHOU -- The Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu province, will reopen on Thursday after being closed for over a month due to the latest resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak, local authorities said Wednesday.

The Western Thousand-Buddha Caves and the Yulin Grottoes located in the region are also set to reopen on Thursday. Visitors to the three sites are required to book tickets online, undergo temperature monitoring and show their health QR code during entry, said the Dunhuang Academy that administers these heritage sites.

Those without a green health code and with body temperatures over 37.3 C will be denied entry into the grottoes, said the academy.

Visitors who have recently traveled to medium or high-risk COVID-19 areas are required to provide negative results of nucleic acid testing taken within 48 hours before arrival, according to the academy.

Visitors must wear masks and maintain social distancing of at least one meter while visiting these sites.

The daily cap on visitors to the Mogao Grottoes was at 6,000 before the closure, while a new quota will be rolled out after its reopening.

The three sites were closed to the public on Oct. 20 due to a resurgence of local COVID-19 cases.

No new locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Gansu province for over two weeks, according to the provincial health commission.

The millennium-old Mogao Grottoes are home to a vast collection of Buddhist artworks with numerous ancient murals and Buddhist statues located across 735 caves, carved into the cliffs by ancient worshippers.

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