Shanghai Disneyland temporarily closed by a “serious” virus epidemic


Shanghai Disneyland has temporarily closed its doors as part of China’s unrestricted campaign to eliminate the virus.

The amusement park will be closed until at least November 2, with no guarantee of reopening after that, although some hotels in the resort will remain open. News of the temporary closure on Sunday followed an announcement earlier today that the park was suspending entry and requiring visitors to undergo Covid testing upon departure.

The park did not specify the reason for the announcements, except to say that it had received notices from other provinces and cities and that it was cooperating in their epidemiological investigations. China has been running since mid-October to contain a new coronavirus outbreak linked to domestic tourists, which has so far infected more than 370 people in at least 11 provinces and regions. On Sunday, the National Health Commission reported 48 new locally transmitted cases in the past 24 hours, but none in Shanghai.

Guests leaving the resort are expected to be retested 24 hours later, according to the park’s announcement, and then expected to self-monitor for 12 days.

Images on social media showed large groups of workers wearing full personal protective equipment circulating in the park on Sunday and long lines of visitors waiting to leave.

A spokesperson for the National Health Commission said on Saturday that the latest epidemic in China “is still developing rapidly” and that the situation is “serious and complicated”. The latest wave of infections, while small compared to outbreaks in many other countries, is relatively large for China, which has only officially reported around 97,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

On Chinese social media platform Weibo, where news of the suspension was trending, some commentators on Sunday who said they had already purchased tickets expressed disappointment. But many comments have expressed support for the measure and concern over photos of crowds in the park over Halloween weekend. China’s commitment to a ‘zero Covid’ policy – which has made it an outlier globally – enjoys broad support nationally, as it has enabled relatively unrestricted travel to the interior of the country.

Still, some experts have warned that the economic toll from repeated blockages and other strict prevention measures could eventually become too heavy. Throughout the pandemic, domestic tourism and consumption suffered when new outbreaks were reported as people sought to avoid getting trapped in high-risk areas.

Claire Fu contributed research.


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