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China locks thousands in Shanghai Disney over 1 COVID case

China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2017. (State Department/Released)
November 02, 2022

Guests were recently trapped in Shanghai Disneyland and mass-tested for COVID-19 after a woman’s infection was traced back to the theme park, triggering its third shutdown in a year as China sticks by its “zero COVID” policy.

The park suddenly locked down on Monday around 11:39 a.m. local time as the Shanghai government announced everyone inside had to be tested for COVID before they could leave, CNBC reported.

Social media videos compiled by BBC showed masked guests waiting in crowds and huddling in small groups along the walls.

All guests left the park that day after an “expedited” testing process that turned up only negative results, a Disney spokesperson told the Washington Post. Social media posts suggested guests began to leave in batches around 10:30 p.m, Bloomberg reported.

A single COVID case also prompted Shanghai Disneyland to shut down exactly a year earlier, when nearly 34,000 people were locked inside and tested, as NPR reported.

The resort’s website indicated it was still closed on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Its closure came days after Shanghai ordered all 1.3 million residents of a downtown district into home confinement pending COVID test results, as reported by the Associated Press. 

China has continued to impose harsh lockdowns and mass quarantines under its so-called “zero COVID” policy, even as other countries that previously embraced those tools have mostly dropped them. There have been growing signs of public anger and economic problems, but no hints that President Xi Jinping has any plan to loosen up.

Shanghai residents this year have already endured a two-month lockdown that was one of the longest and most severe of any in the pandemic era, triggering food and medicine shortages, as the New York Times reported

That lockdown also suspended operations at Shanghai Disneyland for three months, Deadline reported.

China is even building a new permanent quarantine center on a river island in Shanghai, a move that AP reported is a sign that its COVID policies are there for the foreseeable future.