Walt Disney's Shanghai Disney Resort in China is closing until further notice in the face of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. And McDonald's also said it was temporarily closing locations across five cities of China's Hubei province because of the virus.
Disney's decision to close its massive theme park comes during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home or abroad, and when Shanghai Disney would typically be packed with families and revelers.
The resort will temporarily close starting Saturday, the theme-park operator announced on Friday, saying it was making the move to ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees.
Disney and McDonald's are among the many travel-oriented businesses, hotels and airlines on alert as a result of the new coronavirus, which causes flu-like symptoms and has killed at least 26 people in China and sickened hundreds more.
"We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation," Shanghai Disney stated. Information on refunds for those who bought tickets for admission to Shanghai Disneyland, the Beauty and the Beast Mandarin Production or who booked a resort hotel will soon be available, it added.
The U.S. company's first theme park in mainland China, Shanghai Disney opened in 2016 and marked Disney's biggest overseas investment at $5.5 billion.
The resort is about 500 miles from the central China city of Wahun, among several cities under quarantine as authorities in China race to halt the spread of the deadly disease that could also hit the, the world's second biggest after the U.S.
McDonald's said all of the fast-food chain's outlets in the cities of Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Qianjiang and Xiantao are closed as of Friday, the U.S.-based company said in a statement. McDonald's did not give a count of how many locations had closed.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday confirmed a second infection in the U.S., this one involving an Illinois resident who recently returned from Wuhan. After returning to the U.S. a week-ago Monday, the patient sought medical help after experiencing symptoms a few days later.
"The patient was admitted to a hospital, where infection control measures were taken to reduce the risk of transmission to other individuals. The patient remains hospitalized in an isolation room in stable condition and is doing well," the CDC stated. It added there likely will be additional cases in the U.S. in the coming days and weeks.
Public health entry screenings are already in play at international airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco as U.S. health officials look to stem the spread of the virus in this country and elsewhere.