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Coronavirus digest: Taj Mahal reopens as India cases slow

June 16, 2021

Monuments are opening as COVID restrictions are being relaxed in India. Elsewhere, Japan is pondering whether to allow spectators at the Olympics. Follow DW for the latest.

View of the Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal reopened for visitors on June 16Image: Alex Anton/picture-alliance/Zoonar

The Taj Mahal, India's top tourist attraction, opened for visitors Wednesday after being closed for two months.

Several monuments were closed in the country on April 15 to break the spread of COVID-19.

Visitors will have to book their tickets online, as offline facilities remain shut. Only 650 people will be allowed at a time.

India reported 62,224 new infections and 2,542 deaths over the last 24 hours, a significant drop from a peak of over 400,000 per day in early May.

Crowded malls and markets as various states ease COVID-19 restrictions have raised alarm. Precautionary measures, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, remain in place.

After India's second wave

Here's a roundup of the latest major coronavirus developments around the world.


Japan could allow up to 10,000 fans at sports events after a coronavirus state of emergency ends on June 20. The decision to allow spectators, if any, at the Olympics will be decided after that.

Australia's most populous city Sydney recorded a single case of locally acquired COVID-19, the first in more than a month. A man in his 60s has been infected, though it's not clear how.

China reported 21 new COVID cases in the mainland on Tuesday, up from 20 cases a day previously, the country's national health authority reported. The cases originated from overseas, it added.

Singapore is working on the timing of easing COVID restrictions, originally planned for next Monday, after a new cluster of cases were detected.

Singapore travel restrictions

Malaysia will receive 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by China's drugmaker Sinovac BioTech.


European Union governments reopened nonessential travel for the United States from the end of June, regardless of travelers' vaccination status. Five other countries are also on the travel list, though individual EU states can still opt-in to demand a negative COVID-19 test or impose quarantine restrictions.

The EU is also planning for permanent capacity to produce 300 million vaccines in the first six months of any new health emergency. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a news conference that the bloc must be ready for the "age of pandemics." 

Germany's coronavirus cases have increased by 1,455 to 3,717,625 on Wednesday. The death toll rose by 137 to 90,074. Germany has removed some regions, including the US, Canada and Austria, from the travel risk list. The removal of restrictions went into effect on June 13.

Slovenia has ended a state of emergency after eight months. It reopened cultural and sports events at 75% capacity for people who could demonstrate they don't pose a risk.

In Russia, Moscow officials have ordered mandatory vaccinations for service industry workers. Retail, education, health care, public transport and other industries that provide services to a large number of people are now required to ensure that 60% of staff are vaccinated.

Authorities want service workers to have at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 15 and be fully vaccinated by August 15.


South Africa will receive 2 million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of June, President Ramaphosa has announced. The doses will make up for the amount lost due to contamination at a production plant in the US.


New York will lift several COVID-19 restrictions, as 70% of adults there have been vaccinated, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Movie theatres will no longer have to leave empty spaces between patrons and restaurants don't have to ensure that parties sit at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Some restrictions, like wearing masks in schools and subways, continue to remain in place.

Vaccination effort in Alaska

A new study — one of the largest conducted so far — has said that the first cases of the coronavirus had reached America in December 2019. A public health official said the cases were sporadic and the infection wasn't widespread until February 2020.

Brazil has recorded 52 cases related to the Copa America soccer tournament, three days after the event kicked off. Venezuela, Bolivia and Colombia delegations reported cases among players and staff.

Mexico has presented a plan to reopen the border with the US. The plan centers on its ability to effectively vaccinate its population. Currently, 29% of the population has received a single dose.

rm/rt (Reuters, AP)