India is reopening its famous wonder of love and several other monuments as the number of new infections continues to decline.
India’s iconic Taj Mahal has reopened to the public as the country, which is still disastrous from a second wave of the pandemic, rushes to lift restrictions to try to revitalize its economy.
The 17th-century monument, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra, was closed in early April when India introduced strict blocking measures in an effort to contain an increase in COVID-19 infections that still kill thousands every day.
Prabhu Singh, the Agra district magistrate said on Wednesday, will only allow 650 tourists to enter the Taj Mahal facilities at any one time.
The estimated white marble monument typically attracts between seven and eight million visitors a year, or an average of at least 20,000 people a day.
The precautions of COVID-19 allowed visitors not to touch the gleaming marble mausoleum, but those making the pilgrimage to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World were still delighted.
“I’m so glad I saw it, it’s amazing,” exploded Brazilian visitor Melissa Dalla Rosa, 40.
“I cried when I saw, oh my God … (it was) a very special experience,” he told AFP news agency.
Lucky Feizan, a 20-year-old shopkeeper, said the closure had severely squeezed those who depended on the Taj Mahal for their livelihood.
“This was the second wave of COVID. (With a) third, I’m done, ”he told AFP.
The state of Uttar Pradesh, where Agra is located, reported 270 new infections overnight and 56 deaths. It is among the states most affected by India in terms of total COVID-19 cases.
Other federally protected monuments, including New Delhi’s Red Fort and Qutub Minar, also reopened to tourists on Wednesday, even as alarms sounded in the world’s second most populous country due to a resurgence of crowds in major cities threatening feed another rise in infections. .
Indian media reported this week traffic jams and an increase in tourists at the northern resort of Shimla, famous for its picturesque views of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, which raised fears on the spread of the virus.
Restrictions in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and other cities have also been reduced with a decrease in new infections.
Authorities continue to warn people to put on masks and keep a safe distance.
India’s health ministry on Wednesday reported 62,224 new COVID-19 infections overnight, slightly more than the previous day’s figures, but still well below the May peak of at least 400,000 infections daily.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the South Asian country is now 29.63 million, while the total number of fatalities is 379,573, according to the data. India added 2,542 deaths overnight.