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Shanghai Disney closes for 2 days, tests 33,000 parkgoers over one COVID-19 contact

Temperature-screening booth at entrance to Shanghai Disney Resort
A temperature-screening booth is set up at the entrance gate to the Shanghai Disney Resort.
(Chinatopix)
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Shanghai Disneyland abruptly shut its gates Sunday evening, announcing that it would be closed for at least 48 hours and confining thousands of people inside the park for hours for mass coronavirus testing after a visitor from the day before was found to have COVID-19.

The park will remain shut Monday and Tuesday as it continues to cooperate with coronavirus-prevention efforts, Shanghai Disneyland said in a notice Monday.

The park’s sudden lockdown and temporary closure underscored just how serious China is about enforcing its zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy.

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The case that prompted Disneyland’s closure involved one individual whose illness was discovered in the nearby city of Hangzhou and who had visited the theme park Saturday, local media reported.

For hours Sunday night, tens of thousands of visitors were stuck in the theme park as they waited for a negative test result that would allow them to leave. One Disney superfan, who gave her last name as Chen, said she was inside the park when she heard the announcement to get tested at 5 p.m., but had taken it in stride.

“No one complained, and everyone behaved really well,” she said. Chen said she holds an annual membership and visits the park at least once a month. She is waiting at a hotel for her second coronavirus test result before she is allowed to leave and go back to Beijing.

Disneyland admission prices are going up 3% to 8%, plus extra for the highest demand days.

Shanghai city officials announced Monday morning that all 33,863 people who had been at the park over the weekend had tested negative. They will be asked to get tested again in the next two weeks and monitor their health.

While many countries have turned to living with the coronavirus, whether out of choice or necessity, China’s policy has been to cut the chain of transmission as quickly as possible. It has kept its borders sealed since March 2020 and maintains a strict quarantine-on-arrival policy. Authorities have aimed to stamp out each local outbreak, helping China keep its reported totals to 4,636 deaths out of 97,243 cases since the pandemic began.

Thursday, Beijing Railway authorities notified health authorities in the eastern city of Jinan to stop a train that was traveling from Shanghai to Beijing because one passenger was a close contact of someone who had tested positive.

Jinan health authorities then sent healthcare workers, transportation workers and police to the station to quarantine the passengers and disinfect the train. They sent 212 people into centralized quarantine, including the close contact.


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