Taj Mahal reopens even as India coronavirus cases soar

  • Monday 21, September 2020 07:57 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on Monday in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections.
India, home to 1.3 billion people and some of the world's most crowded cities, 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 that devastated the livelihoods of tens of millions of people, 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.

The world-famous white-marble mausoleum in Agra south of New Delhi is India's most popular tourist site. It usually draws seven million visitors a year, but has been closed since March.

Officials said strict social distancing rules were in place and daily visitor numbers capped at 5,000 -- a quarter the normal rate. Tickets can only be bought online.