NEW DELHI : Visitors to the Taj Mahal will have to wear masks at all times, keep their distance, and not touch the glistening marble surfaces when India's 17th-century ''monument to love'' reopens after a three-month Covid-19 shutdown.

Only 5,400 tourists will be allowed in 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 Jehan for his wife, in a 22year effort.

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

Authorities are reopening the Taj and other monuments, such as New Delhi's historic Red Fort, just as India's coronavirus is rumbling and rising at the fastest pace in three months.

On Sunday, the health ministry reported a record single-day spike of 24, 850 cases and more than 600 deaths. [Reuters]


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