SHANGHAI: Shanghai Disneyland will close until further notice this weekend due to a deadly virus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people in China, the amusement park said Friday (Jan 24).
The closure comes as China entered its nearly week-long Chinese New Year holiday, and the home of Mickey Mouse had prepared special "Year of the Mouse" celebrations for its guests.
But the park and resort said on its website it would temporarily close from Saturday "in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety" of its guests and staff.
"We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation," it said, adding that guests who had purchased tickets or booked a resort hotel would be reimbursed.
China sealed off millions more people near the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, shutting down public transport in at least 10 cities in an unprecedented quarantine effort as the death toll climbed to 26.
While the World Heath Organization held off on declaring a global emergency despite confirmed cases in half a dozen other countries, China expanded a lockdown now covering about 26 million people and cancelled some Chinese New Year celebrations to prevent the disease spreading further.
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The virus that emerged in the central city of Wuhan has now infected 830 people, the national health commission said.
Of the cases in China so far, 177 are in serious condition. Authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected cases.
China also on Friday confirmed the second virus death outside the Wuhan epicentre, saying a patient died in Heilongjiang province, 2,000km northeast of Wuhan.
The new virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Authorities have said most fatalities were aged between 48 and 89 and already suffered from pre-existing health conditions.
Disney opened its US$5.5 billion theme park in Shanghai in June 2016, its sixth amusement park and third in Asia.
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