Taj Mahal opens today with strict safety guidelines

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, is set to reopen on Monday but visitors will have to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 guidelines. The monument was closed for over three months, as part of the lockdown restrictions.

Only 5,000 tourists will be allowed in a day, split into two groups, news agency Reuters has said. Earlier around 80,000 tourists used to visit the monument in Agra on a daily basis.

The visitors will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing. “All centrally protected monuments & sites shall be bound by the protocols like sanitization, social distancing & other health protocols,” the Union Tourism Ministry said in a tweet.

Authorities are reopening the Taj and other monuments, such as New Delhi’s historic Red Fort, just as India’s coronavirus infections are rising at the fastest pace in three months.

On Sunday, the health ministry reported a record single-day spike of 24,850 new cases and more than 600 deaths, pushing the overall case tally to 673,165, closing in on Russia which is the third-most affected country globally, the Reuters report said.

But the government has been lifting a vast lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion people that has left tens of thousands without work and shuttered businesses. While international flights remain suspended, domestic travel has been opened up, and the government is hoping visitors will start to trickle back to some popular destinations.

Agra, one of India’s first big clusters of the virus, remains the worst-affected city in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state. Containment zones, areas identified as most affected by the virus, remain under strict lockdown, with restricted access and movement of only essential goods and services.