New Delhi, June 16 (EFE).- India on Wednesday reopened its iconic monument Taj Mahal to the public after closing it in mid-April as the country witnessed a massive surge in coronavirus cases due to a virulent second wave of the pandemic.
After being temporarily closed from Apr. 15, the doors of the 17th century mausoleum were thrown open again on Wednesday as part of efforts to revive the Indian economy, which has been severely affected by measures to contain the virus from spreading.
“Happy to share that #TajMahal along with all @ASIGoI (Archeological Survey of India) monuments will be open for tourists from 16th June’21 onwards,” tweeted the district magistrate of Agra, the city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh where the monument is situated.
In order to ensure the visitors’ security, only 650 tourists will be allowed within the premises at a time.
However, entry in India continues to be banned for international tourists since March 2020, when the South Asian country imposed a total lockdown on its over 1.3 billion inhabitants, which was gradually lifted after two months, even though the number of infections remained high.
The reopening of Taj Mahal and other heritage sites is part of a gradual easing of restrictions in the country after the second wave, with authorities aiming to boost the economy, as the national GDP contracted by an unprecedented 7.3 percent during the financial year 2020-2021, which ended in March.
However, the Reserve Bank of India has forecast a recovery for the current fiscal year (April 2021- March 2022), with the economy expected to grow 9.5 percent in this period.
India on Wednesday reported a little over 62,000 daily infections, much lower than the daily caseloads of over 400,000 it witnessed in May during the peak of the second wave.