Rio reopens Christ the Redeemer, other sites after virus closure

Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain reopened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after five months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pao de Acucar cable car, which offers its own panoramic view of the city, the AquaRio aquarium and the gigantic Rio Star, Latin America's largest ferris wheel, also reopened this weekend.

The reopening comes with limitations on the number of visitors permitted. Preventive measures including temperature checks are being taken at tourist attractions reopened this weekend. Visitors will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

"I'm not afraid. People should keep their distance. But if gyms, bars, restaurants, religious services and churches are open, why not here," said one of the tourists Thaiza Barbosa.

Brazil's National Confederation of Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC) estimates that the country's tourism sector has lost 154 billion reales (28.4 billion U.S. dollars) over the last five months, operating at only 14 percent of its capacity.

The state of Rio de Janeiro, with 17 million inhabitants, has registered more than 14,500 deaths and nearly 190,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to official statistics.

The capital itself, which in June began a gradual economic reopening, has seen 33 deaths and 1,365 new cases in just the last 24 hours.

(With input from AFP)