This was no Mickey Mouse matter.
Shanghai Disneyland was locked down Sunday so 33,863 park visitors could be tested for COVID-19, and the park will remain closed until Wednesday, after a woman who visited a day earlier tested positive for the deadly bug.
The lucrative park’s sudden lockdown and temporary closure demonstrated how seriously Beijing is about enforcing its zero-tolerance pandemic prevention strategy ahead of the Winter Olympics.
As people lined up for roller-coaster rides and watched fireworks boom above the fairytale castle, health care workers clad in hazmat suits rushed in to conduct a mass testing of the visitors.
The theme park will remain closed Monday and Tuesday as it continues to cooperate with pandemic prevention efforts, Shanghai Disneyland said in a statement.
In China, which has sealed its borders since March 2020, the massive response has been to cut the chain of transmission of the bug as quickly as possible.
With a strict quarantine policy, officials have sought to stamp out local outbreaks to zero — helping the country keep its reported totals to 4,636 deaths and 97,243 cases since the pandemic began.
China had reduced most domestic cases to a trickle during the pandemic, but a recent flare-up has tested Beijing’s determination to eliminate the contagion even as much of the rest of the world opens up.
There were 92 new cases reported Monday, the highest since mid-September, Agence France-Presse reported.
The visitor who sparked the closure was a woman whose illness was discovered in the nearby city of Hangzhou and had visited the park on Saturday, according to local media.
Thousands of visitors were stuck in the park for hours late Sunday as they waited for a negative test result that would allow them to leave.
On Monday morning, the city announced 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 and their health will be monitored.
One visitor, who gave her family name as Chen, told the Associated Press she was inside the park when she heard an announcement at 5 p.m. that everyone had to be tested.
“No one complained, and everyone behaved really well,” said Chen, who was waiting at a hotel for her second test before she can return to Beijing.
The park’s closure comes after Beijing’s newly opened Universal Studios said Saturday that close contacts of infected people had been discovered among the previous weekend’s visitors, according to AFP.
All workers at Universal Studios, which entered a “state of emergency prevention” on Friday, have tested negative and no trace of the virus has been detected there, the park said.
Pang Xinghuo, deputy chief of Beijing’s disease control center, told reporters Monday that the current outbreak remained “severe and complex,” especially as the weather turns colder.
Authorities have said eradicating the virus is their biggest challenge in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, which Beijing is due to host in under 100 days.
With Post wires