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Tokyo Disney parks closing for two weeks on COVID-19 fears

Tokyo Disney parks closing for two weeks on COVID-19 fears

Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos, and Pluto greet guests from a float during the theme park's annual New Year's Day parade at Tokyo Disneyland. (File hoto: AFP/Yoshikazu Tsuno)

TOKYO: The operator of Tokyo's two Disney resorts, Disneyland and DisneySea, said Friday (Feb 28) the parks would be closed for around two weeks on fears over the outbreak of COVID-19.

"Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have decided to proceed with an extraordinary closure from Saturday, Feb 29, 2020, through Sunday, Mar 15" after the government urged measures to limit the spread of the virus, the operator said in a statement.

The operator Oriental Land said it currently hoped to resume operations from Mar 16.

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"Currently, we plan to reopen on Mar 16. But we'll decide when to open by looking at the situation and developments. We'll also consult (official) agencies concerned," a spokesman told AFP.

The operator added that it would inform ticket holders of policies on refunds.

More than 30 million visitors flood into the two parks per year, and they are among the most popular destinations for tourists coming to Tokyo.

The move comes as the Japanese government steps up measures to tackle the outbreak of the virus, which has been linked to at least four deaths in the country and nearly 200 infections.

READ: COVID-19: Japan school closure plan stuns parents, officials

On Thursday night, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged schools across the country to close for around a month, though nurseries and after-school clubs are exempt.

The government has also urged people to work from home and commute during off-peak hours, as well as avoid large gatherings.

More than 30 million visitors flood into Tokyo's Disneyland and DisneySea each year. (Photo: AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi)

Disney's Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks remain closed for more than a month, and the company earlier this month warned of a negative impact on its second quarter results.

It said on an earnings call on Feb 5 that closure of the Shanghai park could impact operating profit by about US$135 million if closed for two months. 

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Source: Agencies/zl