The Shanghai Disney resort abruptly closed its gates on Monday after a sudden lockdown was called, trapping its visitors inside until they test negative for COVID-19. It’s the latest flash quarantine to hit China as part of its strict zero-COVID policy.
Viral videos circulating on Chinese social media site Weibo appeared to show crowds of people racing to the park’s gate to escape the impending lockdown, as well as long lines of people waiting to be tested for COVID-19.
Shanghai Disney, which includes Disneyland and its surrounding shopping districts, announced the closure of the park shortly after 11:30 a.m. local time, citing compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
The Shanghai government posted on WeChat that the park was barring people from exiting until they could provide a negative COVID-19 test, the BBC reported. People who had visited the park between Thursday and Sunday will also be required to provide negative text results over three consecutive days.
Shanghai reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.
The shutdown of the park echoes previous abrupt lockdowns in accordance with China’s zero-COVID policy. One such incident also occurred in Shanghai in August, when a lockdown was imposed at an IKEA branch, sending the shoppers scrambling for the exit to avoid being locked inside.
One upside to the lockdown in the “Happiest Place on Earth” is that the park will still be operating the rides for those confined within.
The lockdown at Shanghai Disney comes just two days after the park began operating at a reduced capacity to combat the spread of COVID-19, the BBC reported.
This is also not the first time that the resort has had to shut its gates with people still inside. In November 2021, 30,000 people were trapped inside Shanghai Disney until they could be tested for COVID-19 as part of contact tracing efforts.
Shanghai Disney said on Weibo that the tickets of those caught in the lockdown will be valid for six months should the guests wish to return. If not, full refunds will be provided.
China’s staunch commitment to its zero-COVID policy in order to eradicate any outbreak of the disease has led to millions of residents being confined to their homes and other locations. Long lockdowns in large cities like Shanghai have made the policy increasingly unpopular with Chinese residents.