Shanghai moves towards ‘watershed moment’ with Disney resort reopening partially; city reports six new Covid-19 cases

·4-min read

Shanghai Disney Resort said it will reopen partially on Friday following an 81-day shutdown due to the city’s Covid-19 outbreak even as local health authorities discovered six community infections on Thursday.

The Disneyland amusement park, Disneytown and two resort hotels will remain closed until further notice, but the 400,000 square metre Wishing Star Park, the Blue Sky Boulevard and the World of Disney Store will resume operations with limited capacity and reduced opening hours, Shanghai Disney said in a statement, adding that its team was preparing to reopen the entire resort.

The resort will continue to implement strict pandemic control and prevention requirements, with new additional measures and operational changes following guidelines from local authorities during the initial reopening period, it said.

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“The full reopening of the Disney resort will be a watershed moment, because it marks the city’s full return to normality,” said Li Wenjie, CEO of Shanghai Yaheng International Travel. “But the resort will still implement its reopening in a gradual manner by limiting the number of visitors and imposing strict virus controls, initially.”

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Shanghai Disney Resort’s partial reopening follows the lifting of Shanghai’s two-month-long lockdown on June 1. The resort was temporarily closed on March 21 due to the flare-up in coronavirus cases in Shanghai. China’s commercial hub is aiming to fully restore businesses and life by the end of this month.

This is Shanghai Disney Resort’s second extended closure. It was shut for four months from January to May in 2020, when the Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province.

The resort will require all guests to provide negative nucleic acid reports for tests taken with 72 hours before entering the facility.

Shanghai reported six community infections on Thursday, the highest in seven days, taking the total to 26 since the mainland’s most developed metropolis formally relaxed a citywide lockdown on June 1.

“Scattered cases have been constantly spotted since June 1, particularly in some dilapidated residential compounds and among service providers in downtown areas,” Zhao Dandan, deputy health commissioner, told a press briefing on Thursday. “The new cases have put us on high alert and we must be fully aware that risks of a resurgence in the outbreak still exist.”

He said at least seven of the city’s 16 districts, including Pudong New Area, home to Tesla’s Gigafactory and the mainland’s largest equity trading bourse Shanghai Stock Exchange, required all residents to undergo nucleic tests on the weekend. Local authorities said the mass testing exercise was part of “normal” virus controls.

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City officials have warned residents of a resurgence in new cases following Shanghai’s reopening, and have urged residents to observe social distancing, wear masks and avoid crowding. The city continues to bar most entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and cinemas, from resuming operations.

The city detected seven community infections on June 2, just one day after it formally ended the lockdown that started on April 1.

Shanghai’s health commissioner Wu Jinglei said on Sunday night that scattered cases in the city could spread quickly if immediate action was not taken to cut the transmission chains.

Since the pandemic began on March 1, Shanghai has reported 626,600 Covid-19 cases, most of them showing mild or no symptoms, and a total of 588 deaths.

All manufacturing activity has resumed since June 1, with employees allowed to commute between their homes and offices every day. Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 said it planned to exit the so-called closed loop system on Saturday.

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