Two Disney theme parks closed in China this weekend, in efforts to protect people from the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan in 2018, but has been spreading at an alarming rate during the past few weeks.. The two parks, located in Hong Kong and Shanghai, are closed until further notice, following the closing of many public schools and shopping malls. Entertainment events such as movie premieres and sports tournaments are also being canceled in order to help curb the spread of the virus, Gizmodo reported.
This is a busy season of celebration in China, and these closures are an attempt at keeping people from traveling, according to Gizmodo. In an unprecedented move, the Lunar New Year celebration period was extended until February 2nd, the Associated Press reported, in efforts to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic.” The intention behind the holiday extension might be to give people more time to recalibrate; and if people in China choose to travel, the extension may reduce the concentration of the number of people “gathering” at one time. These new restrictions come in the wake of our evolving knowledge of this strain of coronavirus.
International health authorities now agree that the virus has an incubation period of 1 to 14 days, during which a person infected may not show symptoms but will still be contagious, Gizmodo reported. In practical terms, that means that a person can be a carrier of 2019-nCoV and could spread it to others even if they show no sign of fever, which is what many major travel authorities are currently using as a litmus test to determine whether a person is safe to travel.
While China seems to be taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus, many health officials are concerned that this epidemic could get worse. “I am afraid that it will continue for some time, and the number of cases may increase,” Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.
Although there are currently no reported cases of someone transmitting the virus outside of China, there are now 44 confirmed cases outside of China, including five in the US, Gizmodo reported. But according to the CDC, Americans don’t have reason to be overly concerned. They believe that the virus is not being transmitted person-to-person within the US.