Universal Studios opens Beijing park under anti-virus curbs

BEIJING (AP) — Harry Potter fans came dressed as wizards as Universal Studios opened its first theme park in China on Monday under anti-virus controls,

The Hollywood studio’s “Jurassic Park,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Harry Potter” film franchises, plus Minions from “Despicable Me” feature prominently at Universal Studios Beijing on the Chinese capital’s eastern outskirts.

The opening went ahead despite coronavirus outbreaks in China’s southeast that prompted the government to tighten travel controls in some areas.

“We’ve been longing for the opening for quite a while,” said a visitor, Niu Haoxuan.

Visitors were required to wear masks and display a smartphone-based health code that shows whether they have been to regions deemed at high-risk of infection.

After a report of a possible case in Beijing last week, “we were very worried,” said Zoe Shi. “We thought about whether we should still go. It turned out to be untrue in the end. We feel lucky.”

Universal Studios Beijing is the Chinese capital’s first foreign-branded amusement park. It is the fifth worldwide for Universal Studios and the third in Asia, after Japan and Singapore. Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp.

The park received high-profile support from the Beijing city government despite tension between the ruling Communist Party and Washington. The city extended a subway line and added a station named for the park.

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