(This October 12 story corrects spelling of surname to Katayama)
LIMA (Reuters) - Peru opened the ruins of Machu Picchu for a single Japanese tourist after he waited almost seven months to enter the Inca citadel, while trapped in the Andean country during the coronavirus outbreak.
Jesse Katayama’s entry into the ruins came thanks to a special request he submitted while stranded since mid-March in the town of Aguas Calientes, on the slopes of the mountains near the site, said Minister of Culture Alejandro Neyra on Monday.
“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Neyra 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.”
Katayama, his entry ticket on hand since March, entered the ruins of the citadel built more than 500 years ago on Saturday, and became the first visitor in seven months to be able to walk through the world heritage site. His original plan had been to spend only a few days in Peru to take in Machu Picchu.
“This is so amazing! Thank you!” said Katayama in a video recorded on the top of Machu Picchu mountain.
Minister Neyra said that in November the stone ruins of Machu Picchu will be reopened for national and foreign tourists, without specifying the date. The site will permit 30% of its normal capacity of 675 people per day.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Neyra said. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”
Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Aurora Ellis
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