Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw has pledged government assistance to renovate and preserve the ancient stupas and pagodas damaged by the earthquake on Wednesday, a report said on Friday.

Assessing the damage in the archaeological site in Bagan on Thursday, U Htin Kyaw called for protecting the heritage of ancient objects, stressing that the renovation work should maintain the original features with the help of foreign experts, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the report, the quake destroyed 241 pagodas in the Bagan region.

Visitors have been denied access to the damaged archaeological site with security measures being imposed on the area.

Meanwhile, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi urged the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs not to make haphazard repair of the toppled spires of the pagodas but to to draw up a project plan with technical assistance from the World Heritage Centre of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The Yangon office of Unesco has deployed experts to assess the damage.

At least three people were killed and six injured when the 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar on Wednesday.

With an epicentre 197.9 km southwest of Mandalay and 19.3 km west of Chauk, the quake jolted most parts of the country including Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.