SHANGHAI, China – For many, a trip to a Disney theme park can be a magical, unforgettable experience, filled with rides on attractions, Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzels, and photographs taken in front of a breath-taking castle.
Visitors at Shanghai Disneyland in China on Sunday likely had an unforgettable experience, not due to any of the engineered magic in the park, but rather thanks to a lockdown and mass testing of COVID-19.
City and province officials called a literal “23-19” (remember that line from Monsters Inc.?) when it was discovered that a person in the nearby city of Hangzhou who had tested positive visited the theme park the day before.
Upon discovery and with the cooperation of local healthcare leaders and police, an announcement was made parkwide at around 5 p.m. that admission would be barred for the remainder of the day and all 33,863 guests inside the property would be subject to rapid testing.
Officials state that not a single positive test was found in the enormous group of fun-seekers, but health monitoring and another test will follow.
According to a guest with the family name, Chen, who spoke with the Associated Press, the ordeal was actually somewhat painless and conflict-free, something that come across as a surprise.
“No one complained, and everyone behaved really well,” Chen said.
In a measure of extra caution, the park announced on Monday it would remain shut until Wednesday.
The situation and the quick action taken by the Chinese officials underscores how seriously the country is at preventing any additional spread of the virus. Set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in less than 100 days, organizers have announced strict parameters for athletes to remain in a “closed loop” for training, competition, transportation, dining, and housing.
“Indeed, epidemic prevention and control is the biggest challenge for us to host the Winter Olympic Games,” Beijing 2022 organizing committee official and city vice mayor Zhang Jiandong told the media in a news conference.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.