Shanghai Disneyland reopens as China eases more COVID rules

Shanghai Disneyland reopens as China eases more COVID rules

Sydney, 2022-06-29 13:34:54. Shanghai Disneyland reopens as China eases more COVID rules

Shanghai Disneyland will reopen Thursday after a three-month hiatus, as China further eases COVID-related restrictions.

The Shanghai Disney Resort said Tuesday that the park will resume operations “with a limited daily capacity and enhanced health and safety protocols” in line with Chinese government regulations.

“During the initial reopening phase, the majority of Shanghai Disneyland’s exciting attractions, rides, shows, shopping and dining venues will resume operations at a controlled capacity,” she added in the statement.

Shanghai Disneyland – Disney’s largest international theme park – closed on March 21, as Shanghai was battling a sharp rise in COVID cases. The city imposed a strict lockdown soon after, confining millions of residents to their homes and forcing stores and restaurants to close.

Shanghai lifted the lockdown on June 1, easing many of its restrictions and allowing the vast majority of residents to leave their homes.

The Shanghai Disney Resort reopened some retail areas and parks earlier this month, and resumed operations at Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. But the main park remained closed.

Shanghai will also gradually resume dining services in restaurants from Wednesday. Sponsors will need to submit a negative PCR test that will be done within 72 hours, and eating will be scheduled in 90 minutes, according to Shanghai Commerce Commission inspector Lai Xiaoyi.

The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland comes as China halved quarantine times in a major shift in COVID policy.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that China will cut the quarantine period for international travelers by more than half, requiring them to spend seven days in the central government quarantine facility, plus an additional three days at home.

Previously, the quarantine requirement was at least 14 days in a government facility and seven days in home quarantine.

This shift marks the first time that China has reduced its nationwide quarantine since the beginning of the epidemic.

“The first easing of international travel restrictions in more than two years represents a major shift in China’s COVID orthodoxy, adding to our conviction that we are out of COVID zero by the end of the year,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a report on Tuesday.

“Although it is a small step for COVID relaxation, it is a huge leap of confidence in the direction of the COVID trajectory,” they added.

China’s economy has slowed to a crawl since the lockdowns began, with many analysts predicting a contraction in GDP in the second quarter. In May, the unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 24 was 18.4%, a new record.

Morgan Stanley analysts said they now expect China’s GDP growth to rebound to 2.7% year-on-year in the third quarter and 4.7% in the fourth.

“Overall, the Chinese government has started to strike a balance between supporting growth and suppressing the spread of the virus after the strict lockdown in Shanghai,” said Ken Cheung, senior Asian foreign exchange analyst at Mizuho Bank.

But he also noted that it remains “highly uncertain” when China will reopen its borders to non-residents under the current coronavirus non-proliferation policy. China closed its borders to nearly all travelers in March 2020 as part of its strict approach to eliminating any trace of the virus.

In the meantime, he added, “residents continue to risk being suddenly put under lockdown and frequently mass testing.”

The Beijing bureau of CNN and Yong Xiong and Jorge Engels in London contributed to the report.

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