Tokyo Disney parks extend closure until early April over virus

The operator of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea said Wednesday the parks will remain closed through early April over fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

Oriental Land also said the openings of new zones and attractions, scheduled for April 15, will also be pushed back to mid-May, as the government calls on the public to avoid unnecessary outings and crowded places.

The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a 10-day extension of measures intended to halt the spread of the new , including cancelling, delaying or scaling back major events.

The virus has so far infected 568 people and been linked with 12 deaths in Japan.

Oriental Land originally closed the parks from February 29 with a plan to reopen from March 16.

"We are planning our resumption time for early April, but we will make an announcement at a later time," the company said in a brief statement.

"The opening of Tokyo Disneyland's major development area, which was scheduled for April 15, has been rescheduled to mid-May or later," the company said.

More than 30 million visitors flood into the two parks each year, including school children during spring break, and they are among the most popular destinations for tourists coming to Tokyo.

Abe has made a nationwide plea for the public to help halt the spread of the coronavirus, urging schools to close through early April and telling businesses to encourage commuters to work from home or avoid rush hour trains.

A panel of experts is expected to meet next week to assess the effectiveness of those measures.

© 2020 AFP

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