A Japanese tourist who had been stuck in Peru for almost seven months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic finally had to visit the famous ruins of Machu Picchu – open only to him, according to reports.
Jesse Katayama, 26, was eager to visit the 15th-century Inca citadel perched on a 7,970-foot mountain range when he arrived in the Andean state in March, but the deadly bug had other plans, according to the Guardian.
“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Culture Minister Alejandro Neira told a virtual news conference on Monday, the newspaper reported.
“The Japanese citizen entered with our park manager so he could do so before returning to his country,”
According to the report, Peru, which has so far reported 33,305 coronavirus-related deaths, has the highest death rate per capita of any country in the world.
International flights have resumed recently, but only to seven Latin American countries.
“It’s so amazing! Thank you! ”An enthusiastic Katayama, a native of Osaka, said in a video recorded on top of Machu Picchu Mountain after entering the ancient site on Saturday.
Neira announced that the UNESCO World Heritage Site would be open to all in November, although she did not specify a date. According to safety protocols, the site will allow 30 percent of its usual capacity of 675 people per day.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Neira said. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”
Katayama, a boxing instructor, told CNN he spent much of his free time exploring local attractions such as Mount Putukuzi and Calientes Falls.
He even taught boxing to local children and practiced his own movements because he planned to open a boxing gym when he finally returned home on Friday.
“I go running every morning and I saw Machu Picchu in the distance,” Katayama told CNN. “I thought I would never get to Machu Picchu because I expected it not to open until this year. But I was fine with that because I had a great time here. “
In a holiday Instagram post, Katayama wrote: “Peruvians are so good. Thank you so much! “