Shanghai Disneyland visitors locked in park for hours, reportedly over a single COVID case

Beijing — Visitors to Shanghai Disneyland were temporarily blocked from leaving the park on Monday as hundreds of thousands of people were screened for COVID-19 infection over a single case. The testing extended to more than 400,000 people, the city government announced Tuesday.
The park closed Monday for testing of staff and visitors, Walt Disney Co. and the government said in separate statements. The city health bureau said guests all tested negative and were allowed to leave by 8:30 p.m., but one visitor from elsewhere in China told the Reuters news agency she didn’t make it out until 10 p.m.

Marvis He told Reuters she and her companion had flown in from the city of Shenzhen to enjoy the Disney park’s Halloween fireworks.

“I feel disappointed, we waited so long in the park… but we didn’t get to see anything and only got to get out at 10 p.m.,” she told Reuters as she left.

“We were also cold and hungry,” added her friend.

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Reuters quoted city authorities as saying the resort shut its gates after authorities became aware of a 31-year-old woman who had visited the park in recent days testing positive for the coronavirus.

Some 1.3 million residents of Shanghai’s downtown Yangpu district had been ordered to stay at home for virus testing on Friday, and it was expected to be related to the same case.

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President Xi Jinping’s government has stuck to its severe “zero-COVID” strategy even as most of the rest of the world has dropped anti-coronavirus restrictions. The draconian measures have seen entire cities, including Shanghai, shut down this year to isolate every suspected case.
Also Tuesday, authorities in the southern territory of Macao were carrying out virus tests on all of its 700,000 residents after one case was found last week.
“Zero-COVID” has kept infection rates relatively low but at a high cost as businesses struggle with repeated shutdowns.

Hong Kong’s main stock market index surged 5.2% on Tuesday after a comment circulated on Chinese social media that said the ruling Communist Party might set up a “reopening committee” to look at ways to wind down the anti-virus controls.
A foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, told reporters he was “not aware of what you just mentioned” when asked about the rumor.
Outbreaks in Shanghai in March led to a shutdown that confined most of its 25 million people to their homes for two months.
The city government appealed to anyone who had visited the Shanghai Disney Resort since Thursday to undergo three days of nucleic acid testing and avoid gathering in groups.

Disney said Monday parts of the resort closed due to anti-virus regulations but gave no indication visitors were kept inside. It said Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown and Wishing Star Park were closed while two hotels were operating normally.
Some rides and other amusements kept operating Monday while visitors were tested, according to social media posts.
“Please return and take a tour in the park,” a video on the popular Sina Weibo platform showed an employee in a mask saying to guests. “The park’s gates are all closed temporarily, and you cannot leave now.”
Another video on Sina Weibo showed technicians in white protective suits who appeared to be taking throat swabs from guests after dark while police watched and a fireworks display lit up the sky behind them.
“The most beautiful nucleic acid detection point,” the account user wrote.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019

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