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World Taj Mahal reopens even as India cases soar

03:26  21 september  2020
03:26  21 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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India 's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on Monday as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation's coronavirus-battered economy despite 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 , second

The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections Sajjad HUSSAIN AFP. " Cases are still increasing rapidly I have no idea how we can reopen educational institutions now," West Bengal's education minister Partha Chatterjee said.

a group of people standing in front of Taj Mahal: The world-famous white marble mausoleum is India's most popular tourist site © Prakash SINGH The world-famous white marble mausoleum is India's most popular tourist site

The Taj Mahal reopens 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 cases. Around 100,000 new infections and over 1,000 deaths are reported daily.

New local lockdown rules announced in parts of North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire

  New local lockdown rules announced in parts of North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire Parts of the North West, West Yorkshire and the Midlands have been placed under further localised coronavirus restrictions. The new measures, prompted by a fast rise in COVID-19 cases, have been confirmed by the Department for Health following consultation with local councils and MPs.

The Taj Mahal reopens 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.

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 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 .

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 the city of 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 say that when it reopens, strict social distancing rules will be imposed and daily visitor numbers will be capped at 5,000 -- a quarter the normal rate. Tickets can only be bought online.

Taj Mahal reopens after longest shutdown

  Taj Mahal reopens after longest shutdown The iconic monument was closed in March to halt the spread of coronavirus. It will now allow only 5,000 visitors daily and enforce Covid-19 safety measures as cases spike in India. The Taj Mahal is one of the world's leading tourist attractions, and drew as many as 70,000 people every day before the pandemic.The 17th-Century marble mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It was last shut briefly in 1978 when Agra city, where it is located, flooded. And before that, the monument closed for a few days in 1971, during a war between India and Pakistan.

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 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 .

The Taj Mahal reopens 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 cases .

"Circles are being marked, the mask would be a must and nobody would be able to enter without thermal screening," Vasant Swarnkar, a senior archaeologist in charge of Agra's monuments, told reporters.

- 'Lockdown fatigue' -

Elsewhere however, particularly in rural areas where infections are soaring, anecdotal evidence suggests that government guidelines on avoiding the virus are more often ignored than adhered to.

"I think, not just in India but all over the world, fatigue with extreme measures that were taken to restrict the growth of the coronavirus is setting in," said Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, predicting that infections will keep rising as a result.

Many experts say that even though India is testing more than a million people per day, this is still not enough and the true number of cases may be much higher than officially reported.

'Don't touch the marble': visiting the Taj Mahal in a pandemic

  'Don't touch the marble': visiting the Taj Mahal in a pandemic From Princess Diana to President Trump, everyone wants to visit the Taj Mahal, but in the middle of a global pandemic the bucket-list experience is just a little less special. - Relief for locals - "The moment I heard the Taj is re-opening I decided to visit. I had been planning it for so many years," said engineer Debargha Sengupta, 25, who took a train from Allahabad 500 kilometres (300 miles) away. © Sajjad HUSSAIN Visitors to the Taj Mahal are reminded to put their masks back on once they have taken the obligatory selfie "It's amazing, it's incredible.

Monument in northern city of Agra opens to visitors after being closed for six months.

India 's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on Monday as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation's coronavirus-battered The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader

The same goes for deaths, which currently stand at more than 86,000, with many fatalities not properly recorded even in normal times in one of the world's worst-funded healthcare systems.

There is however some resistance to Modi's unlocking of the world's second-most populated country, which saw its economy contract by almost a quarter between April and June.

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.

"I am prepared for my son to lose an academic year by not going to school rather than risk sending him," said Nupur Bhattacharya, the mother of a nine-year-old boy in Bangalore.

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Video: No priority queue for French people being tested for Covid (AFP)

Flights between Sydney and Adelaide resume as border reopens .
The aviation industry is hoping today's resumption is the start of a long road to recovery. "Our staff was so happy to see flights going out of Sydney to Adelaide, this flight is all but sold out today," Qantas CEO of Domestic and International Travel, Andrew David told Today.Qantas and Jetstar yesterday reported selling 6500 seats across the two brands since the border ban was lifted.The Sydney to Adelaide route has been dormant since July.Mr David said the huge interest had promoted Qantas to boost services, adding second flights per day.

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