India's iconic Taj Mahal re-opened to the public on Wednesday as the country, still reeling from a disastrous second wave of the pandemic, rushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalise its economy.
The 17th century monument, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra, was closed in early April as India introduced strict lockdown measures in an effort to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections that is still killing thousands every day.
Only 650 tourists will be allowed inside the premises of the Taj Mahal at any point of time, Prabhu Singh, the District Magistrate of Agra said. The white marble monument normally attracts 7 million to 8 million visitors annually, or an average of over 20,000 people per day, reports Reuters.
The state of Uttar Pradesh, where Agra is located, reported 270 new infections overnight and 56 deaths. It is among India's hardest states in terms of total COVID-19 cases.