As the number of new infections continues to decline, India has reopened its famous miracle of love and several other monuments.
India’s iconic Taj Mahal has been reopened to the public because the country is still suffering from a disastrous second wave of pandemics, and the country is eager to lift restrictions to revive the economy.
This 17th-century monument built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra was closed in early April because of India’s strict lockdown measures to curb the surge of COVID-19 infection that is still killing thousands of people every day .
Agra Magistrate Prabhu Singh said on Wednesday that only 650 tourists are allowed to enter the Taj Mahal at any time.
This white marble monument commemorating love usually attracts 7 to 8 million visitors per year, or at least 20,000 visitors per day on average.
COVID-19 precautions mean that visitors are not allowed to touch the shiny marble tomb, but those pilgrims visiting one of the new seven wonders of the world are still happy.
Melissa Dalla Rosa, a 40-year-old Brazilian tourist, gushed: “I’m so happy to see it, it’s great.”
“When I saw it for the first time, I cried, oh my god… (this is) a very special experience,” she told AFP.
Lucky Feizan, a 20-year-old shopkeeper, said the blockade is putting pressure on those who depend on the Taj Mahal for their livelihoods.
“This is the second wave of COVID. (Yes) Third, I am done,” he told AFP.
Uttar Pradesh, where Agra is located, reported 270 new infections and 56 deaths overnight. In terms of the total number of COVID-19 cases, it is one of the hardest-hit states in India.
Other federally protected monuments, including the Red Fort and Koutumbo Tower in New Delhi, also reopened to tourists on Wednesday, although the world’s second most populous country sounded the alarm due to the resurgence of crowds in major cities, which could lead to another surge in infection .
Indian media reported that traffic jams and a surge in tourists to the northern mountain station of Shimla, known for the picturesque scenery of the snow-capped Himalayas, this week have further raised concerns about the spread of the virus.
Restrictions in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and other cities have also been relaxed, and new infections have fallen.
Authorities are still warning people to wear masks and keep a safe distance.
The Ministry of Health of India reported 62,224 new cases of COVID-19 infection overnight on Wednesday, slightly higher than the previous day’s figure, but still well below the peak of at least 400,000 infections per day in May.
Data shows that the total number of COVID-19 cases in this South Asian country is currently 29.63 million, while the total death toll is 379,573. India added 2,542 deaths overnight.