A Japanese tourist who has had a ticket to visit the world heritage site Machu Picchu in Peru since March finally got to visit the Inca citadel ruins on Saturday.
Jesse Takayama got in after he put in a special request while he was stranded during the coronavirus outbreak in a town by the mountains at the site built more than 500 years ago.
“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Alejandro Neyra, the minister of culture, said in a virtual press conference. “The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.”
Peru has reported 33,305 coronavirus-related deaths so far.
The South American nation has the highest per capita COVID-19 mortality rate of any country across the globe, according to John Hopkins University – and physicians there believe the country’s faulty testing approach is one reason why.
For years, Peru has invested a smaller part of its GDP on public health than others in the region. As COVID-19 approached, glaring deficiencies in Peru became evident.
High levels of poverty and people who depend on daily wages from informal work complicated the government’s efforts to impose a strict quarantine, further challenging Peru’s ability to respond effectively to the virus.
The virus has killed the country’s travel industry – especially its main event. Machu Picchu will be reopened for national and foreign tourists in November at 30% of its normal capacity of 675 people a day.
After seven months, Takayama was excited he got the chance to visit.
“This is so amazing! Thank you!” said Takayama in a video recorded on the top of Machu Picchu mountain.