Shanghai Disneyland has temporarily closed as part of China’s unrestricted campaign to eliminate the virus.
The amusement park will remain closed until at least November 2, with no guarantee of reopening after that, although some hotels within the complex will remain open. News of Sunday’s temporary closure followed a ad That same day, the park was suspending entrances and requiring visitors to undergo Covid tests when exiting.
The park did not specify the reason for the announcements, except to say that it had received notification from other provinces and cities and was cooperating with their epidemiological investigations. China has raced 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 cases transmitted locally in the previous 24 hours, though none in Shanghai.
Guests leaving the resort would have to be screened again 24 hours later, according to the park’s announcement, and would then need to self-monitor for 12 days.
Images on social media showed large groups of workers in full personal protective equipment circulating through the park on Sunday and long lines of visitors waiting to leave.
A spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Saturday that the latest outbreak in China “was still developing rapidly” and that the situation was “serious and complicated.” The most recent round of infections, while small compared to outbreaks in many other countries, is relatively large for China, which has 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 commenters on Sunday who said they had already purchased tickets expressed disappointment. But many comments expressed support for the measure and concern over photos of crowds in the park over Halloween weekend. From China commitment to a “zero Covid” policy – which has made it a global outlier – has widespread support at the national level, as it has allowed relatively unrestricted travel within the country.
Still, some experts have warned that the economic cost of repeat closings and other strict prevention measures can eventually become too heavy. Throughout the pandemic, domestic tourism and consumption have been affected when new outbreaks were reported, as people sought to avoid being trapped in high-risk areas.
Claire fu contributed research.