The spring equinox is a special time at Chichén Itza. Photo: arizona.edu

Authorities concerned about the coronavirus pandemic declared the Chichen Itza archaeological zone closed during the famed spring equinox illusion.

“In this week before the equinox, each year we receive the visit of more than 50,000 visitors from different countries,” said Gov. Mauricio Vila in explaining the decision to lock the gates March 20-22.

In a video recorded from his office and broadcast on social networks, the governor noted that the objective of this measure is “to further increase the protection and health of the entire population.”

According to Vila, this “will significantly reduce the chances of contagion” in a state that has close to 2 million inhabitants in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Every March 21 for 50 years Chichen Itzá has hosted thousands of visitors to observe the phenomenon of light and shadow caused by the equinox and which looks like a snake descending the steps of its iconic pyramid. This phenomenon symbolizes the descent of Kukulcán, the Mayan god who fertilizes the earth.

In his case, Dzibilchaltún, 27 kilometers north of Mérida, will still be open to visitors who come early to witness the sun rise, centered on the Temple of the Seven Dolls on March 21.

While countries such as Colombia or Argentina have announced the closure of their borders due to the coronavirus crisis, the government of Mexico has not yet adopted drastic measures beyond announcing the closure of schools on March 20 and the suspension of events with more than 5,000 people.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continued his tour of the southern state of Guerrero, on the Pacific coast, holding rallies and hugging spectators, despite the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

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