Hong Kong Disneyland Is Closing Again After a Coronavirus Spike of 50 Cases Per Day

Visitors take a selfie at Hong Kong Disneyland on June 18, 2020.
Visitors take a selfie at Hong Kong Disneyland on June 18, 2020.
Photo: Anthony Wallace (Getty Images)

Hong Kong Disneyland announced on Monday that it would close its gates to visitors again due to a recent spike in novel coronavirus infections, according to a statement obtained by CNN. Hong Kong identified 41 new cases on Monday, and 38 cases on Sunday—a concerning outbreak by the standards of most wealthy countries. By contrast, Walt Disney World in Florida reopened over the weekend while the state broke a new record for most cases in a single day: 15,299 new covid-19 infections.

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“As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close from July 15,” the statement reads.

Hong Kong Disneyland first closed in late January, the second Disney park to close after Shanghai Disney—back when only 81 people globally had died from the virus and 2,827 infections had been identified, almost all in mainland China. At that point, the coronavirus was so new that it wasn’t even named covid-19 yet, and instead was referred to by the World Health Organization as 2019-nCoV.

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Hong Kong Disneyland reopened on June 18, after the region had successfully seen cases plummet and the government was confident that community spread had been extinguished for the time being. Shanghai Disney opened as well, with both parks allowing very limited capacity, installing new social distancing messages, and imposing strict mask requirements. But the Hong Kong theme park isn’t going to be open much longer.

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau announced over the weekend that it would again suspend school for all children in the region, a question that’s being debated in the United States as kids have been told by the federal government to get ready for the fall. While Hong Kong has seen just 1,521 cases and eight deaths since the pandemic began, the U.S. has identified at least 3.3 million cases and over 132,000 deaths.

The U.S. Disney theme parks, with Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida (which includes several locations), weren’t closed until March 14. Strangely, Walt Disney World decided to go through with its reopening plan over the weekend while Florida experienced the worst single-day increase of coronavirus cases on record. Precisely 15,299 people tested positive for covid-19 in Florida on Sunday alone, smashing New York state’s previous record of over 12,000 cases over a 24-hour period back in early April. Disneyland in California is still closed and hasn’t gotten permission from the state to reopen.

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Other events in Hong Kong are getting canceled or postponed, including the Hong Kong Book Fair, which was supposed to start on July 15 and run through July 21. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council announced on Monday that the Book Fair would be delayed but didn’t give an exact date for when it might be rescheduled.

And yet it’s full steam ahead in many parts of the U.S. right now, as states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida run out of ICU hospital beds for covid-19 patients. People are waiting eight days to get test results in Atlanta, roughly 1-in-100 Americans have tested positive, and the morgues in Texas are filling up, prompting the state to prepare refrigerated trucks for all the bodies. Despite all this, there’s no sign that the Trump regime has a plan to effectively deal with any of it.

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But at least everyone can go to Disney World. The rest of the world, needless to say, is just looking on in horror.

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

Disney Hong Kong and Disneyland are closed because the respective governments told them they had to close. California and Hong Kong are acting like real governments and keeping the health and well being of their people first. While re-opening Disney World is a questionable move on the part of the corporation, they aren’t a body elected by the people to protect them, they are richer than many countries, but don’t have a dedicated public health system to advise them, and obviously have a pretty big conflict of interest. They are following the lead of the government who should know better and if any one of Orange county, Osceola county, or the State did their job then the Florida theme park would be just as closed as their California or Hong Kong outlets.

Disney doesn’t completely get a pass on this, but the bulk of the blame lies at the feet of the elected officials whose job it is to make hard, unpopular, decisions and refuse to do it.