Even as Indian film industry trackers are celebrating the Box Office wins of Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe (tamil) and Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi (hindi) films – both have entered the ₹200 Crore club in 9 & 8 days respectively, a popular Theme Park in China’s commercial capital Shanghai shut down abruptly and screened all visitors for the presence of the dreaded virus in them.
In a bizarre event that turned out to be a nightmare for thousands of visitors to Shanghai’s famed Disneyland earlier this month, the management which runs the iconic theme park shut down the centre with thousands inside to conduct a 100% screening of all visitors for the dreaded Coronavirus. People in Hazmat suits streamed in through the gates, preparing to test everyone for Covid-19 before they could leave for the day.
Around 34,000 people were screened which completed late in to midnight and were ferried home in 220 buses back home and were advised 2 days of home isolation though everyone of them tested negative. The park was shut down after a woman who visited the centre over the weekend from Hangzhou tested positive which made the authorities go in to a tizzy and decided to test everyone to ensure there was no spread of the infection any further at a time when near normalcy has returned in the global city. To those in other parts of the world, this could seem an extreme measure by the State but that’s how China has been going about contract tracing to avoid further spread. This, compared to certain parts of Europe and the US where citizens are refusing to take the vaccine or wear a mask!
In contrast, each of the 1,500+ Multiplex screens in India, alongside another 5,000+ standalone ones had 4-5 shows daily during the much hyped Deepavali weekend, each with a seating capacity of 200 on an average. With limited or nil sanitising after each show, the theatres are a haven to carry the virus by air. But mindless of the infection spread, film enthusiasts across the Country thronged to theatres to see their matinee idols in flesh and skin after a gap of nearly 18 months. While the two film releases have paved the way for a dozen more in the pipeline between now and New Year 2022 weekend, on which hinges a ₹2,000 Crores investment, it is also the biggest scare due to congregation of so many people under one roof. Though Indian authorities would never take such extreme reactions as China does, it’s high time that crowded occasions in public spaces is monitored closely than curbed by Indian authorities.