Park Visitors Trapped as COVID Fear Closes Shanghai Disneyland Again

Visiting a theme park in China now comes with a significant risk of involuntary detention.

An estimated 20,000 park visitors were trapped inside Shanghai Disneyland on Monday after city authorities stepped up their anti-COVID measures.

In November last year some 30,000 people were trapped in the park for two days when the city launched a contact tracing exercise.

Shanghai authorities ordered the park and its nearby retail complex to close its doors shortly before midday on Monday. That followed the discovery of eight positive cases in the city on Sunday, all of which were asymptomatic. On Saturday the park said it would reduce staffing in order to comply with the latest COVID regulations.

People inside the park on Monday would have to provide a negative test before being allowed to leave. And anyone who has been to the park since Oct. 27, 2022, would have to take a COVID test every day for three days. Some attractions were kept running for those people trapped inside the park.

China continues to operate a strict form of disease control, labelled as Zero-COVID. This involves strict quarantines, mass testing, lockdowns and restrictions on movement which is controlled by use of an app, all of which are intended to break the chains of transmission. Many in China have complained about the seemingly random closures announced by the app and the requirement for frequent testing.

Shanghai, China’s biggest city and its commercial capital, was largely locked down for three months earlier this year by the discovery of a new wave of cases.

Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in summer 2016, is a joint venture between a company owned by city authorities and by the Walt Disney Company.

The newer Universal Resort near Beijing was allowed to reopen on Monday. It had been closed for five days from last Wednesday after a nearby outbreak.

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