Pandemic: Machu Picchu reopens … for one tourist

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Lima | The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, Peru’s major tourist site, has reopened after months of closure due to the coronavirus, but for only one visitor: a Japanese stranded in the country by the global pandemic.

“The first person on Earth to return to Machu Picchu from confinement is me!” Jesse Katayama wrote on his Instagram account, where he posted photos of himself in front of the deserted site.

“It’s really unbelievable! Thank you, ”he added in a video posted on the Facebook pages of the local tourism authority of the Andean region of Cuzco.

The 26-year-old tourist has been stuck in Peru since March. He had bought an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu a few days before the country declared a state of health emergency, closing its tourist sites and its borders.

Its situation ended up attracting the attention of the local authorities, who thus granted him a single entry right to the famous citadel.

Several archaeological sites in the Cuzco region are due to reopen from Thursday with a strict health protocol, but it will probably be necessary to wait until November for Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Minister of Culture announced last week.

With 33 million inhabitants, Peru is the third country in Latin America in terms of deaths linked to Covid-19, behind Brazil and Mexico. The country has the highest death rate in the world relative to the number of its inhabitants.

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