India reopens the famous monument Taj Mehal despite there being 87,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day.
The famous love monument was shut for six months as the country was in lockdown. However, it has been the longest time that it has been shut.
Before the pandemic, the average number of visitors to the monument was 20,000. But now up to 5,000 people can visit at a time to follow social distancing.
The 17th-century marble mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
There are many precautions and measures that the people will have to follow when visiting the iconic landmark. However, it includes temperature checks at the entrance and social distancing throughout. Wearing a mask is also compulsory for visitors.
A Chinese tourist and a visitor from Delhi were among the first people to enter.
Pressure From the Businesses
The government reopened the country as the prime minister Narendra Modi got a lot of pressure from the businesses to relax lockdown restrictions. As the economy is under deepest depression.
However, India is close to becoming the country with the highest number of coronavirus cases. The nation of 1.3 billion people currently has a total of 5.49 million infections – second only to the US on 6.79 million.
Considering its huge population, there are still low numbers of coronavirus cases as compared with countries such as the US, the UK, and Brazil. But the economic impact has been significant.
For the first day of reopening only 300 tickets were sold for the Taj Mahal. A sign that the tourism industry is struggling.
Major Contribution in Economy
Tourism employs more than 42 million people and contributed at least $240bn (£186m). Or 9.2% – to India’s gross domestic product in 2018, World Travel and Tourism Council data shows.
The Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI) said foreign tourists are unlikely to return until at least April. Domestic tourists are suffering because of the confusing system of regional lockdowns and quarantine rules.
“People don’t want to go on holiday,” said Manu PV, the ATTOI’s secretary. “They are very worried. There is a fear factor.”