As India is witnessing record spike in Coronavirus cases, even though The Taj Mahal reopens to visitors divided into two slots on Monday.
The world-famous Taj Mahal in the city of Agra south of New Delhi is India’s most popular tourist site. It usually draws seven million visitors a year.
According to officials, when it reopens, strict social distancing rules will be imposed and daily visitor numbers will be capped at 5,000. Tickets can only be bought online.
India has recorded more than 5.4 million COVID-19 cases. Around 100,000 new infections and over 1,000 deaths are reported daily.
But after a strict lockdown in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reluctant to copy some other nations and tighten the screw on activity again.
Instead in recent months his government has eased more and more restrictions including on many train routes, domestic flights, markets, restaurants — and now, visiting the Taj Mahal.
“Circles are being marked, the mask would be a must and nobody would be able to enter without thermal screening”, a senior archaeologist in charge of Agra’s monuments, told.
Schools were meant to resume Monday on a voluntary basis for students aged 14 to 17, but many Indian states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat have said it is still too soon.
“Cases are still increasing rapidly… I have no idea how we can reopen educational institutions now,” West Bengal’s education minister Partha Chatterjee said.
Elsewhere schools are refusing to open or parents are wary of sending their children in.