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Peru plans to reopen Machu Picchu on July 24
A government inspector takes a selfie on June 15, 2020 in the empty Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca citadel located at 2,430 metres in the Andes mountain range, 80 km from Cusco in southern Peru, which has been closed to tourism since March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Percy HURTADO / AFP.

LIMA (AFP).- Peru's ancient Inca citadel Machu Picchu will reopen to tourists on July 24, the local governor announced Monday.

Cusco governor Jean Paul Benavente said details were still being finalized but "in principle, July 24 is the confirmed date for the reopening."

"Some elements linked to the biosecurity protocols are being finalized," Benavente told AFP.

Transport links from Cusco, 70 kilometers (42 miles) from Machu Picchu -- including buses, trains and flights -- must be ready by that date, the governor said.

If all the protocols are not met, the reopening of the famous stone citadel will be postponed, he added.

July 24 marks the anniversary of the discovery of the site in 1911.

Benavente said only 675 visitors would be able to enter the site daily.

However, last Tuesday, the culture ministry said up to 2,244 visitors could enter a day -- half the number of tourists usually allowed in the ancient Inca citadel in the high season.

Machu Picchu, which opened to tourists in 1948, was originally due to reopen on July 1 at a limited capacity -- but that plan was abandoned over fears it could contribute to infections spreading in neighboring towns.

Peru's borders have been closed for almost four months as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 12,000 people and infected more than 330,000.

© Agence France-Presse

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