Shanghai authorities allow Disneyland visitors to leave after Covid shutdown

Shanghai, China, Nov 1 (EFE).- Authorities in China’s eastern city of Shanghai said on Tuesday that they had allowed the exit of all the visitors who had been inside the Disneyland theme park on Monday when it was ordered to be locked down after a person who had been inside the complex tested positive for Covid-19. 

In response to users’ questions, the Shanghai government’s official account on social networking site WeChat said that by 10.30 pm on Monday night, all the visitors to the park had departed safely. 

Authorities said that all the coronavirus tests, both on people and the park’s material and installations, had returned negative, adding that measures had been taken to disinfect parts of the premises. 

Local news outlets reported that around 19,000 people were inside the park on Monday just before noon, when an immediate closure was announced, confining people inside the complex until they submitted a negative PCR test. 

City authorities said that the infected person had been inside the park and two restaurants, adding that they had already transferred over 700 “close contacts” of the patient to quarantine facilities.

A man takes a coronavirus PCR test on the street testing booth, in Shanghai, China, 28 October 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

Everyone who has visited Disneyland since Oct. 27 is required to undergo daily PCR tests for the next three days. 

The sudden announcement of the park’s indefinite closure due to the Covid outbreak was almost identical to a shutdown notice in late March, issued days before the strict lockdown, that completely shut down the city for around two months. 

Although currently no official date has been announced for the park’s reopening, the last time Disneyland Shanghai remained closed for more than three months, opening its doors only in late June. 

However, the current Covid situation is very different from that of Mar. 21, the day Disneyland Shanghai announced the closure, after 758 cases were detected – including 734 asymptomatic ones – the day before.

The recent coronavirus outbreaks in China, caused by the contagious omicron variant of the corona, had resulted in infection figures not seen since the first throes of the pandemic, at the beginning of 2020. But the pandemic has eased in recent days. 

Despite this, the government continues to cling to its “zero Covid-19” strategy, which consists of isolating all those infected and their close contacts, strict border controls and restrictions on mobility, and massive PCR testing campaigns wherever the virus is detected.

In recent days, several cities – including the capitals of provinces such as Henan, Guangdong or Qinghai – have enforced confinements that, once again triggered headlines due to citizens asking for help on the internet.

The reasons for the calls for help include running out of food or reporting the death of older people who stop receiving the care they need due to the closure of their housing complexes.

In Shanghai, where such scenes from spring are fresh in popular memory, another closure has not been announced at the municipal level, although EFE did verify that buildings or localities in which new infections were detected have been sealed.

Despite the growing weariness among the population due to the restrictions, the national authorities continue to insist that the zero tolerance strategy against the coronavirus is the “most economical and scientific,” claiming that it has saved millions of lives. EFE

vec/ia