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Machu Picchu to ease COVID-19 visitor limit

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Lima   /   Wed, December 2, 2020   /   09:00 am
Machu Picchu to ease COVID-19 visitor limit View of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, in Cusco, Peru during its reopening ceremony on Nov.1, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu reopened on Sunday in the framework of a gradual decrease in COVID-19 contagions in Peru, after remaining empty almost eight months, affecting the tourism sector severely (AFP/Ernesto Benavides)

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Peru's tourist sites, will increase its daily visitor limit to more than 1,000, the Culture Ministry said Tuesday.

Machu Picchu reopened on Nov.1 after a nearly eight-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, but for safety reasons, only 675 tourists were allowed to access the site per day, just 30 percent of the number of visitors pre-pandemic.

From Wednesday, the capacity will increase by 40 percent to 1,116 daily visitors, the ministry said.

The ministry said it decided to increase daily capacity after the rate of COVID-19 infections in Peru began to decline.

Before the pandemic, between 2,000 and 3,000 people per day entered the citadel, and as many as 5,000 during high season.

In March, on the last day of visits before shutting down, 2,500 people visited Machu Picchu.

The Culture Ministry said all visitors must comply with health and safety measures for the coronavirus, including wearing a mask.

Machu Picchu, which means old mountain in Quechua, is the most enduring legacy of the Inca empire that ruled a large swathe of western South America for 100 years before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

The ruins of the Inca settlement, abandoned and overgrown by vegetation, were rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. In 1983, UNESCO declared Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site.