A Japanese tourist who was stranded in Peru for nearly seven months amid the coronavirus pandemic was finally able to visit the famous ruins of Machu Picchu, which were opened just for him, according to reports.
Jesse Katayama, 26, was eager to visit the 15th-century Inca citadel located on a 7,970-foot mountain ridge when he arrived in the Andean country in March, but the deadly insect had other plans, The Guardian reported.
“I had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said Monday at a virtual press conference, according to the outlet.
“The Japanese citizen has entered together with our park chief so that he can do this before returning to his country,” he added after the long-time visitor submitted a special request while taking refuge in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes.
Peru, which has so far reported 33,305 deaths from coronavirus, has the highest per capita death rate from the disease of any country in the world, according to the report.
International flights have recently resumed, but only to seven Latin American countries.
“This is amazing! Thank you!” An euphoric Katayama, a native of Osaka, said in a video recorded on top of Machu Picchu Mountain after he entered the ancient site on Saturday.
Neyra announced that the UNESCO World Heritage site will reopen to everyone in November, although he did not specify a date. In accordance with security protocols, the site will allow 30 percent of its usual capacity of 675 people a day.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Neyra said. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”
Katayama, a boxing instructor, told CNN that he has spent considerable free time exploring local attractions such as Putucusi Mountain and Calientes Falls.
He even taught boxing to local kids and practiced his own moves because he plans to open a boxing gym when he finally returns home on Friday.
“I go for a run every morning and I could see Machu Picchu in the distance,” Katayama told CNN. “I thought I would never get to Machu Picchu because I hoped it wouldn’t open this year. But I was fine with that because I had a great time here. “
In a celebratory post on Instagram, Katayama wrote: “Peruvians are so nice. Thank you very much! “