June 11 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities are reopening areas of the Changbaishan National Nature Reserve, known as Mount Paektu in North Korea, as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides in the country.
Chinese state media reported northern and western areas of the mountain, which China shares with North Korea, will reopen on Thursday. Admission will be free from Thursday to June 27, according to reports.
The mountain was closed to the public on Jan. 24, when the first wave of the novel coronavirus spread across China and around the world, following weeks of delay in containing the disease that was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Tourism is to resume at Changbaishan, but tough social distancing measures are to be implemented, reports say.
According to Chinese authorities, the number of visitors will be limited to 30 percent of "normal levels." Visitors will be required to identify themselves and register through an online reservation system.
All visitors will be required to undergo a temperature check, wear a mask at all times, and submit personal health information using a QR code. Visitors must also submit COVID-19 test results issued within the last 120 hours, according to authorities.
On Thursday Chinese tourist officials on social media platform Weibo said the "first ice has broken at Heaven Lake," the symbolic crater at the mountain.
The mountain is of emblematic importance in North Korea, where the ruling regime claims the father of current ruler Kim Jong Un was born on the mountain.
Mount Paektu is often referred to as the "sacred mountain of the revolution" in North Korean media.
South Koreans unable to access Paektu on the North Korean side comprise a major portion of all visitors to the Chinese nature reserve.