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With their unique flora and fauna, the Galapagos Islands will reopen their doors to tourism on the first of July next.
The announcement comes a few months after the Ecuadorian archipelago turns 42 years of being declared a Natural World Heritage Site, which was also recognized in a doodle by the popular Google search engine.
“We can already start thinking about the future, about the reactivation, that the Galapagos will soon become the first safe tourist destination in health for the entire planet,” said the vice president in a video on his Twitter account, the vice president of Ecuador, Otto Sonnenholzner.
Sonnenholzner anticipated that this tourist destination will reopen its doors “from July 1” with new control regulations.
Galapagos, about 1,000 kilometers from the mainland and with some 30,000 inhabitants, is the province with the fewest cases of covid-19 in the country, with 76 infections reported officially until Friday.
However, the vice president announced on Twitter that Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal, the two most populous islands in the Galapagos, are free of coronavirus, suggesting that the 71 positive cases reported in those territories had been satisfactorily overcome.
Ecuador is one of the Latin American nations hardest hit by the coronavirus, with almost 38,500 cases, including about 3,330 deaths. Authorities also report some 2,100 deaths likely due to the virus.
Since last Monday, at least a third of the population of Ecuador, of 17.5 million inhabitants, began to resume their activities gradually, after the total confinement declared in mid-March to try to stop the advance of the virus.
The Galapagos National Park (PNG), the island’s highest environmental authority, ordered Wednesday the entry of the inhabitants of the islands to beaches located in protected areas, after the quarantine imposed by the pandemic was lightened in the archipelago.
Galapagos citizens will be able to enter six beaches located in protected areas free of charge, carrying security elements such as a mask and disinfectant gel.
In addition, they can only stay up to three hours in these places, according to the PNG.
Since the government declared a state of sanitary emergency on March 17, some 1,500 tourists have been evacuated from the archipelago.
In Galapagos, a Natural World Heritage Site for its flora and fauna unique in the world, there are a thousand tourists, most of them Ecuadorians, who have decided to remain on the islands on their own, according to the authorities.
Tourism activities represent 75% of the islands’ economic income and leave about $110 million annually, according to official estimates.
Source: Noticias Caracol TV