Thousands trapped as Shanghai Disneyland suddenly shuts gates amid COVID outbreak

People wearing face masks visit the Shanghai Disney Resort, as the Shanghai Disneyland theme park reopens after being shut for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, China June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song
People wearing face masks are pictured visiting the Shanghai Disney Resort, after it reopened after being shut due to coronavirus (Reuters)

Thousands of holidaymakers were prevented from leaving Shanghai's Disney Resort on Monday after authorities declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the city and abruptly closed the theme park.

Tourists were told to queue to take COVID tests, and informed they would need to produce a negative result before being allowed to leave the park.

The closure is in accordance with strict lockdown rules after 10 people testing positive in Shanghai on Sunday, all with no symptoms.

Shanghai authorities said on its official WeChat account the park was barring people from entering or exiting and that all visitors inside the site would need to await the results of their tests before they could leave.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JUNE 30: Tourists visit the Shanghai Disney Resort on the reopening day on June 30, 2022 in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Disney Resort reopened on Thursday after more than three months of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
The Shanghai Disney Resort was shut earlier this year for three months due to a COVID-19 outbreak. (Getty Images)
A security guard stands inside the Shanghai Disney Resort after it announced it will suspend operations to comply with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention measures, in Shanghai, China October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song
The Disney resort abruptly suspended operations to comply with strict coronavirus prevention measures. (Reuters)

People who visited the park from Thursday and returned home have been told they must quarantine until they have produced three negative tests in three days.

Videos circulating on China's Weibo platform on Monday showed people rushing to the park's gates after the announcement, but the gates were already locked.

Social media posts from people stuck in the park on Monday suggested that Disney continued to operate some rides for visitors stuck in the park during the closure.

A Shanghai Disney Resort spokesperson said it was still operating "limited offerings" and that they were following measures in line with guidelines from Chinese health authorities.

Visitors wearing face masks are seen at the Shanghai Disneyland theme park as it reopens following a shutdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song
Shanghai has been put into lockdown after 10 COVID cases were detected in the city (Reuters)

On Saturday, the resort said that it had started operating with a reduced workforce to comply with COVID measures.

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Local authorities across China have continued to impose abrupt and extreme measures to cut any possibility of virus transmission once cases arise, in line with the country's ultra-strict zero-tolerance approach towards coronavirus.

The closure marks the latest disruption for the Shanghai Disney Resort, which was shut for over three months during a Shanghai lockdown earlier this year.

The park was also closed for two days in November last year with more than 30,000 visitors stuck inside, after authorities ordered all of them to be tested in a contact tracing exercise.

The Universal Resort in China's capital of Beijing reopened on Monday after a five day closure, also prompted by virus measures.