After a brief period of re-opening, wherein it seemed like China was finally seeing the light at the end of its coronavirus tunnel, the nation’s government is again cracking down to prevent further spread of the virus. Cinemas in China had begun to re-open this week, but have now been universally closed once again, according to Deadline.
The country’s national film bureau made the call, contacting venues and instructing them to close by order of the government, with no stated time frame for when they would open again. The news is currently spreading around China via the major social media service Weibo.
This past weekend, the massively populous nation had begun to dabble with a return to normalcy after having been the original epicenter for the disease. More than 500 cinemas re-opened to the public, and although they were apparently extremely sparsely attended, it was hoped by many that they would be the first in a wave of new openings as the country’s economy revved back to life. That number represents less than 5% of the country’s total theaters—part of why China has become such an important destination for Hollywood tentpole films—but further openings had been expected in Shanghai this weekend. Now, those plans are being reversed, as the Chinese government has apparently re-thought their previously optimistic stance.
Reported cases of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 had slowed to almost nothing in recent days in China, but the country has instead seen a subsequent spike of reported infections via imported cases, as citizens who were abroad return home. Clearly worrying about the possibility of a second spike in the virus, China is again turning to draconian measures of social distancing as a result—which proved quite effective the first time around. One does wonder how much longer the nation will place itself on hold, however.
The U.S., meanwhile, yesterday surpassed China as the country with the most overall COVID-19 cases, becoming the new global epicenter for the pandemic. Considering that the U.S. numbers are still accelerating rather than dropping, it feels like the worst is still yet to come.