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Hong Kong Disneyland closes over China virus fears

 

Agence France-Presse

Hong Kong, China  /  Sun, January 26, 2020  /  01:33 pm
Hong Kong Disneyland closes over China virus fears

People walk past a Disneyland ticketing office at the high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China on January 26, 2020. (AFP/Dale de la Rey)

Hong Kong's Disneyland announced it was shutting its doors on Sunday until further notice over the deadly virus outbreak in central China, a day after city authorities classified the crisis as an emergency.

The park said it was taking the step to protect "the health and safety of our guests and cast members" and said refunds would be given.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

配合本港現時採取的防疫措施,香港迪士尼樂園度假區考慮賓客及演藝人員的健康及安全,樂園將於2020年1月26日起暫停開放。度假區內酒店則維持運作。我們會與政府及衛生部門保持緊密聯繫,視乎情況,公布重開日期。 樂園標準門票由購買後起計,有效期為6個月。如有需要,香港迪士尼樂園度假區將協助已購買門票或已預訂度假區酒店的賓客退款。請按https://x.hkdl.hk/2GqBQdz 查閱詳情,或電郵至 [email protected] 查詢。 _ As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, we are temporarily closing Hong Kong Disneyland park starting from Jan 26, 2020 out of consideration for the health and safety of our guests and cast members. The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels will remain open. We are in close contact with health authorities and the government about the situation and will announce a reopening date once they determine it is advisable. _ The Standard Park Ticket is valid for six months from the purchase date. If needed, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will assist in the refund for guests who have purchased tickets for admission to Hong Kong Disneyland park or have booked a resort hotel. For additional details, please click https://x.hkdl.hk/37t2P47 or email to [email protected]

A post shared by Hong Kong Disneyland (@hkdisneyland) on

Ocean Park, a rival amusement park on Hong Kong's main island, said it was also closing its doors.

On Saturday, Hong Kong classified the outbreak as an "emergency" -- the city's highest warning tier -- and announced ramped-up measures to reduce the risk of further infections.

The move came as city leader Carrie Lam faced criticism in some quarters over her administration's response to the crisis. 

Calls have been made by opposition politicians and some medical experts to halt, or limit, arrivals from the Chinese mainland where the epidemic began.

Of the five people who have tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong so far, four arrived via a newly built high-speed train terminal which connects with the mainland.

On Sunday, a newly formed union which represents healthcare workers threatened industrial action from February 3 if the government does not ban all arrivals from the Chinese mainland.

The Hospital Authority Employees Association, which is still in the process of registering as a union, said it had received 3,700 applications from members to join.

The Hospital Authority employs around 76,000 people.

Lam has resisted closing the border, saying the crisis is not yet at a point where such a drastic measure is needed.

But she has announced all mainland arrivals must now sign health declaration forms. 

Read also: Virus silences Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing

A series of public events, including a Lunar New Year gala and next month's marathon have also been cancelled.

On Sunday, the nearby gambling hub of Macau announced three more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing its total to five.

All three new cases were women who came from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic. One of the women had arrived in Macau via Hong Kong, authorities said.

The closure of Disneyland and Ocean Park will pile fresh misery on Hong Kong's tourism, leisure and retail industries which have already been battered by more than seven months of often-violent pro-democracy protests.

Ocean Park is on track to receive a HK$10.6 billion (US$1.3 billion) government bailout over grim ticket sales in recent years.

Combined with the US-China trade war fallout, the protests have helped tip Hong Kong into recession and the virus outbreak has only compounded the city's economic woes.

Shanghai's Disneyland also closed from Saturday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Hong Kong has firsthand experience of deadly viral outbreaks. 

Nearly 300 people were killed in the city by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, a tragedy that left a profound psychological impact on one of the most densely populated places on earth.

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