Argentina's Iguazú Falls, one of the finest natural wonders of the world, was partially reopened to the public on Saturday after a 100-day closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For now, the famous waterfalls and its surrounding national park will only be open to local residents in limited numbers
"This reopening indicates hope and the beginning of a new stage that we are going through in the context of the global pandemic," Claudio Filippa, the mayor of the city of Puerto Iguazú, told reporters.
The Iguazú National Park in Missiones, which borders Brazil and Paraguay, contains 275 waterfalls in total, with the tallest reaching 82 metres.
The falls are considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, according to the New7Wonders Foundation and is one of Argentina's main tourist destinations. Around 80 perceent of the waterfalls are on the Argentine side of the park, with the rest on the Brazilian side.
Tourism has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying lockdown – authorities in Argentina are eager to re-open sites as quickly as possible.
For now, only 200 visitors a day, divided into four groups of 50 individuals, will be able to enter the Iguazú National Park. Only residents of Puerto Iguazú, whose population is 45,000, will be allowed to apply for tickets for now.
Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Juan Cabandié said the re-opening had passed off "as expected," with visitors "complying with all the protocols approved by the
"We hope that our new normality will continue to develop with the same commitment and responsibility that was shown today in Iguazú," said the official.
To date more than 94,000 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Argentina, with around 95 percent of them in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA). While a strict lockdown remains in place in Buenos Aires City and Province until July 17, restrictions have been loosened in the majority of Argentina's 23 provinces.