The Taj Mahal temple – the most prominent tourist attraction in India – reopens its doors tomorrow, Wednesday, two months after it was closed due to the deadly wave of infections with the Corona pandemic in the country, while the British government decided to postpone the lifting of the last restrictions it imposed to limit the spread of the virus.
The number of infections and deaths caused by the Corona virus in the country of 1.3 billion people reached record levels last April and May, prompting the Indian authorities to impose closures and other restrictions to curb the spread of the epidemic.
The landmark Taj Mahal – one of the new seven wonders of the world – closed its doors in March 2020 when India imposed one of the most stringent closure measures at the beginning of the pandemic, and reopened its doors in September to a limited number of visitors before reopening in mid-April. last April.
The Taj Mahal is located in the northern Indian city of Agra (180 km south of New Delhi), a huge marble mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, and the site is the most visited attraction in India with 7 million visitors annually.
As part of the preventive measures against the Corona pandemic, visitors will not be allowed to touch the sparkling marble in the mausoleum, according to an employee of the Archaeological Inspection Authority in India.
On the other hand, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced today, Monday, to postpone the lifting of the last restrictions imposed in England to limit the outbreak of the Corona virus for a period of 4 weeks until July 19, in the hope of containing the alarming rise in the number of infections linked to the Indian mutant Delta.
The last stage provides for the lifting of the ban on gatherings of more than 6 people in closed places, and the return of performance halls to receive the public with their full capacity.
“We cannot continue with the real possibility that the virus will outpace vaccines and result in thousands of additional deaths,” Johnson said.
He made it clear that he wants the health system to give the health system additional weeks that are vital to continue vaccination.
And Britain – the European country with the most deaths from the Corona virus – gradually lifted a number of restrictions during the spring, thanks to a long closure period and a very effective vaccination campaign.
But the enthusiasm and the feeling of victory in the face of the virus declined with the sudden deterioration in the health situation recorded in recent weeks, as infections moved from two thousand cases per day to 7 thousand, while the number of recovery cases began to rise, although the number of deaths is still less than 10 cases per day.
This upward trend is caused by the spread of the delta mutant, which was first detected in India and now accounts for 96% of infections in Britain.
Studies conducted by the British health authorities showed that vaccines are less effective in terms of the symptoms of the delta mutant, but two doses of the “Pfizer-BioNTech” and “AstraZeneca-Oxford” vaccines prevent hospitalization after infection. by more than 90%.
“We are in a race with the virus, and vaccines should be at the forefront of it,” said Patrick Vallance, the British government’s scientific advisor.
Postponement enjoys wide support among the population concerned about the deterioration of the situation. A YouGov poll showed that 71% of people support a postponement, while this percentage is 54% in the 18-24-year-old group less likely to be infected with the virus.
But the decision arouses the anger of part of Johnson’s conservative camp, who is resentful of the restriction of freedoms, and concern in the economic and cultural circles concerned.