Taj Mahal reopens after six-month coronavirus closure
© SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

The Taj Mahal monument in India reopened on Monday after being closed for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

India’s “monument to love” welcomed its first visitors in months at sunrise as the country continues to struggle to get a hold of the coronavirus pandemic. India recorded 86,961 new coronavirus cases between Sunday and Monday, Reuters reported

Staff in face shields, masks and gloves took guests' temperatures and social distancing was enforced on the premises, The Guardian reported. A quarter of the typical 20,000 people are allowed at the Taj Mahal at one time, with tickets only being sold online. Less than 300 were purchased for Monday.

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Guests are not permitted to touch the white marble walls of the 17th century tomb built by a Mughal emperor for his wife. Masks can be taken off only for photos and must be immediately put on afterward.

“We are following all COVID-19 protocols,” Vasant Swarnkar, the superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India that oversees the Taj Mahal and other monuments, said, according to Reuters.

A bench known as a famous photo spot at the monument has been covered with plastic to assist with cleaning, according to The Guardian. 

India continues to see rising coronavirus cases. The country has recorded more than 5.4 million cases, second behind only the U.S., which has documented more than 6.8 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At the current rate, India could surpass the U.S. in cases in a few weeks.

The country’s death toll has reached 87,882 people — the third most behind the U.S. at 199,531 and Brazil at 136,895.