One lucky tourist was finally able to take in the sights at Machu Picchu after waiting seven months to visit the famous stone ruins due to closures related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jesse Takayama, who is a citizen of Japan, was given special access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Saturday after he was stranded in Peru by COVID-19 travel restrictions, Reuters reported.
Takayama had a ticket to enter Machu Picchu in March and had only planned to stay in Peru for a few days when he became stranded in Aguas Calientes, a town located near the tourist attraction, according to Reuters.
Minister of Culture Alejandro Neyra confirmed in a virtual press conference on Monday that officials opened the Inca citadel just for Takayama after he submitted a special request.
"He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter," Neyra said. "The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country."
In a video recorded from atop of the mountain in Machu Picchu, Takayama thanked officials for the opportunity of a lifetime.
“This is so amazing!" he said. "Thank you!"
Neyra said during Monday's press conference that Machu Picchu will be reopened to national and foreign tourists at 30 percent of its normal capacity in November, though a date was not specified, Reuters reported.
"We are still in the middle of a pandemic," Neyra said. "It will be done with all the necessary care."
As of Monday, there have been 849,371 confirmed cases of COVId-19 and 33,305 coronavirus-related deaths in Peru, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
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