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Another Magic Kingdom is shutting down.
In response to the worsening worldwide coronavirus epidemic, Japan’s Tokyo Disney Resort will close its doors from Saturday to at least March 15.
Oriental Land Co., the local operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort, made the announcement Friday, saying that the decision was in response to the Tokyo government’s recent request that all major events be canceled or postponed for the next two weeks. On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered all schools in Japan to be closed throughout March.
The Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland both have been shuttered since late January due to the ongoing epidemic, which began in mainland China. The Walt Disney Co. warned earlier this month that profits from its parks in China could drop by $280 million in the current quarter.
The Tokyo Disney Resort comprises two theme parks (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea), four Disney hotels, six non-Disney hotels and a shopping complex. Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park launched outside the United States.
Unlike neighboring South Korea and parts of Europe, Japan has not reported a rapid uptick in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. To date, the country has reported 210 infections, and four deaths.
But after Tokyo’s bungled handling of the quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan’s coast, the Abe government has come under increased scrutiny both at home and overseas over its halting approach to the public health situation. The recent global spread of the coronavirus combined with Tokyo’s seemingly uncoordinated response had begun to provoke questions over whether the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to open July 24, might end up canceled or rescheduled. On Tuesday, Abe said the closure or postponement of major events in Japan was altogether unnecessary at that phase in the public health struggle.
But just one day later, Abe signaled a more aggressive stance, requesting that all large sports and cultural events be delayed or called off over the coming weeks. He then shocked Japan on Thursday by closing all elementary, middle and high schools until around the start of April.
The new coronavirus has been found in 48 countries around the world so far. South Korea has seen the largest outbreak outside of China, reporting 256 new cases Friday for a total of 2,022. Italy and Iran have become the other two biggest flash points, with some 900 reported infections combined. New York City officials said late Thursday that they may have discovered their first local case. In California, 8,400 people are being tested after five local cases were confirmed.
Markets around the world have been in free fall over rising fears that the coronavirus may spark a recession. The S&P 500, which hit a record high a little over a week ago, fell 4.4 percent Thursday — its worst performance since August 2011. The index is now officially in correction territory, having fallen 12 percent since last week’s peak.
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