Peru has opened the ruins of Machu Picchu for a single Japanese tourist after he waited almost seven months to enter the Inca citadel, while trapped in the Andean country during the coronavirus outbreak.
Jesse Katayama’s entry into the ruins came thanks to a special request he submitted while stranded since mid-March in the town of Aguas Calientes, on the slopes of the mountains near the site, said the minister of culture, Alejandro Neyra, on Monday.
“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Neyra said in a virtual press conference. “The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can enjoy Machu Picchu before returning to his country.”
Peru has reported 33,305 coronavirus-related deaths so far, and has the highest per capita Covid-19 mortality rate of any country in the world. International flights recently resumed, but only to seven Latin American countries, and the country’s tourism industry has been devastated by the pandemic.
Katayama, his entry ticket on hand since March, entered the ruins of the citadel built more than 500 years ago on Saturday, and became the first visitor in seven months to be able to walk through the world heritage site. His original plan had been to spend only a few days in Peru to take in Machu Picchu.
“This is so amazing! Thank you!” said Katayama in a video recorded on the top of Machu Picchu mountain.
Neyra said that in November the stone ruins of Machu Picchu will be reopened for national and foreign tourists, without specifying the date. The site will permit 30% of its normal capacity of 675 people a day.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Neyra said. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”
Credit: The Guardian