Two of Hong Kong’s major tourist attractions, the Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park theme parks were closed on Sunday in response to the lethal outbreak of coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China. Asian pop superstar Andy Lau also cancelled his scheduled 12 concerts in the territory.
The disease, which is similar to SARS and MERS, and causes pneumonia, has now been identified in 2,077 cases worldwide. To date, it is known to have killed 56 people, all in mainland China.
Hong Kong, which has just six confirmed cases and no deaths, declared a state of emergency on Saturday. That falls well short of the lockdown that is being experienced in Wuhan and several other mainland cities, but it restricts some transport connections and requires health screening for inbound travelers. The two theme parks are closed, but their hotels are still operational.
“As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, we are temporarily closing Hong Kong Disneyland park starting from January 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,” said Hong Kong Disneyland in a statement.
“In response to the Government’s enactment of Emergency Response Level for the severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent (Wuhan pneumonia), putting the safety of our guests and staff first, Ocean Park will be temporarily closed from today (26 January) until further notice,” said Ocean Park on its website.
The closures will be another painful blow for the two parks. Both have been loss-making in recent years, and both saw visitor numbers decline in the second half of 2019 as political turmoil and outbreaks of street violence rumbled across the territory.
Cantopop singer and top actor, Lau had been due to play 12 dates starting from mid-February at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Over 100,000 tickets had been sold. “We apologise to all those who have purchased tickets in support of Mr Andy Lau,” the concert promoter said.