Shanghai Disneyland, Parts of the Great Wall of China Shut Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Helen Murphy

Two major tourist attractions in China have been shut down as officials work to stop the spread of the mysterious coronavirus.

In a statement on Friday, Shanghai Disneyland announced that it would be temporarily closing “in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak” and “in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast.”

The park will close starting on Saturday, and officials “will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government” before announcing the reopening date.

Meanwhile, parts of the Great Wall of China near Beijing will be closed indefinitely to visitors also beginning on Saturday, according to Reuters.

In addition to these great tourist landmarks, the coronavirus outbreak has affected other public spaces in China. According to CNN, McDonald’s closed down restaurants in five cities in China temporarily starting on Friday. Many cities — including Wuhan, which is believed to be the origin of the coronavirus — have also been placed under indefinite emergency travel restrictions, the outlet reported.

Shanghai Disneyland | Marcio Machado/Getty Images
Shanghai Disneyland | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

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Celebrations for the upcoming Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest holiday, have even been cancelled in some cities. Typically, Chinese citizens travel throughout the country to celebrate, which amounts to the largest mass migration in the world.

In Beijing, officials are canceling the usual fireworks displays and fairs for the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, as it’s known in China. They are also closing the Forbidden City, the palace complex and top tourist attraction, until further notice.

Guang Niu/Getty Images
Guang Niu/Getty Images

“In order to comply with epidemic prevention and control works, and to put people’s lives, safety, and health in the first place, mass gatherings should be reduced in order to ensure a harmonious and peaceful Spring Festival,” the Beijing Culture and Tourism Bureau said in a statement. “It is decided that Beijing will cancel all large-scale events, including temple fairs, effective from today.”

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As of Friday, Chinese health officials report that 26 people have died from the coronavirus, while 830 people have been infected, according to The New York Times.

While the virus started in Wuhan, it has since spread around China and into Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States, which announced on Tuesday that the country’s first case was identified in a man in Washington state.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control said that the risk to Americans is “low.” However, they have implemented “enhanced health screenings” at five major airports in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

The coronavirus can spread from person to person through the air or by touch. Coronavirus is a blanket term for several respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe viruses such as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The symptoms typically include trouble breathing, fever, coughing, headache and a sore throat.