Shanghai Disneyland Shuts Down, Tests 34,000 After ‘Single’ Coronavirus Case

SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 11: Tourists visit Shanghai Disneyland after its reopening on May 11, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Disneyland has reopened its gates following months of shutdown, offering a potential model for other mass entertainment venues around the world to open for business during the pandemic. (Photo by …
Hu Chengwei/Getty Images

Shanghai Disneyland shut down on short notice Sunday and refused to allow any of the theme park’s 34,000 visitors to leave the facility until they were tested for the Chinese coronavirus, after allegedly detecting just one new case of the disease in a woman who visited the site one day earlier, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Monday.

“Mass testing a theme park quickly proved a surreal scene: As customers waited to be tested inside Shanghai Disneyland, parks employees tried to keep them entertained,” according to WSJ.

“The fireworks display continued as planned so guests would have something to watch while they waited,” a Shanghai Disneyland spokesman told the newspaper, adding that “park workers helped manage crowd flow to avoid everyone trying to leave at once.”

“Power chargers were handed out so guests could charge their phones, and families with younger children were allowed to leave first,” WSJ relayed.

“Nearly 34,000 people had been tested by Monday morning,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted the Shanghai city government as saying in a statement issued November 1. The press release indicated many of Shanghai Disneyland’s Sunday visitors may have been forced to quarantine at the amusement park overnight.

“All tests came back negative,” Shanghai city officials said of the mass coronavirus testing batch.

Despite the municipal government’s admission that no one who visited Shanghai Disneyland on October 31 tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus, it still ordered all affected persons to “stay away from work or school for at least two days and undergo further testing,” according to AFP.

“All tourists who had visited Disneyland and Disneytown during the weekend were required to report to their neighborhood, employer, or school, and conduct a nucleic acid test immediately at a nearby medical institution,” Shanghai’s epidemic prevention and control headquarters said on October 31, according to Xinhua, China’s official state-run press agency.

Shanghai Disneyland officials announced in a statement released late Sunday they would shut down the theme park for at least the next 48 hours.

“Shanghai Disneyland and Disneytown will be temporarily closed from Monday [November 1] to Tuesday [November 2] for the purpose of epidemic prevention and control,” the facility announced on the evening of October 31.

The Associated Press

A worker wearing a face mask to help protect from the coronavirus walks by a closed temperature screening booth set up at the entrance gate to the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. The theme park locked down late Sunday after learning a recent visitor had tested positive in another province. The park is shut for Monday and Tuesday as they continue to cooperate with the pandemic prevention efforts, Shanghai Disneyland said in a notice on Monday. (Chinatopix via AP)

“The reopening of the facility will be announced once it is decided,” the notice added, indicating the theme park’s closure may extend beyond November 2.

Shanghai Disneyland’s coronavirus panic comes as China battles a national resurgence of its coronavirus caseload, which first emerged on October 17.

“COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] outbreaks have swept 14 provincial-level regions across China in the past two weeks,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission (NHC) told reporters on October 30.

“The current epidemic is still in a rapidly developing phase and remains complicated,” Mi added.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has blamed the country’s latest coronavirus epidemic on a tour group that traveled from Shanghai to China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in early-to-mid October. CCP officials say members of the group contracted the Chinese coronavirus from a foreign source, likely from Mongolia, during their travels and then spread the disease when dispersing to their home cities nationwide. They have provided no evidence that the origin case of the current outbreak occurred as a result of contact abroad.

An estimated 6 million people are currently under lockdown orders across China — mostly in the country’s northern regions, such as the Russian border province of Heilongjiang — as CCP officials scramble to contain the virus’s spread.

Local Communist Party authorities will “strictly prohibit people in locked-down communities from leaving their homes,” NHC spokesman Mi Feng said at Saturday’s press conference.

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