Schools in Japan will also be closed for a month to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus

By Gabrielle Chung
February 28, 2020 12:59 AM

Japan’s Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are temporarily closing their doors due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The two theme parks, which are operated by the Oriental Land Company, will be closed from Feb. 29 to March 15 after the Japanese government urged measures to limit the spread of the virus, according to a statement posted on the Tokyo Disney Resort website early Friday.

Guests who have already purchased admission for those dates are encouraged to exchange them for tickets that can be used until March 31, 2021, the statement said. The exchange can be made free of charge.

The closure announcement comes weeks after Shanghai Disneyland temporarily ceased operations “in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak” and “in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast.”

Tokyo Disneyland
Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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On Thursday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe publicly urged the country’s elementary, middle and high schools to shut down until late March, which is near the end of the school year.

The move — which hopes to squash the further spread of the novel coronavirus — will affect about 34,847 schools across the country, barring some 12.8 million students from classrooms, according to the Associated Press.

“This is to prioritize the health and safety of the children and take precautions to avoid the risk of possible large-scale infections for many children and teachers who gather and spend hours together every day,” said Abe, per the AP.

According to The New York Times, there have been about 186 cases of novel coronavirus reported in Japan, with a total of four deaths. A cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, has also accounted for over 700 cases and four deaths.

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Tokyo is set to host the 2020 Olympics later this summer, though the international sporting event may be called off should the number of novel coronavirus cases around the world continue to rise, a member of the International Olympic Committee said this week.

Coronavirus is a blanket term for several respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Symptoms typically include fever, cough, trouble breathing, headache and sore throat.

As of Feb. 27, there have been 82,132 reported cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.