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Coronavirus: India to reopen Taj Mahal with social distancing and masks

NEW DELHI – Visitors to the Taj Mahal will have to wear masks at all times, keep their distance and not touch its glistening marble surfaces when India’s 17th-century monument to love reopens on Monday (July 6) after a three-month Covid-19 shutdown.

Only 5,000 tourists will be allowed a day, split into two groups, a far cry from peak levels of 80,000 a day who would swarm the mausoleum built in the northern city of Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, in a 22-year effort.

“All centrally protected monuments and sites shall be bound by the protocols like sanitisation, social distancing and other health protocols,” the federal tourism ministry said in a tweet.

The 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, the third-most affected country globally.

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