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Spirited Away

The Studio Ghibli museum has closed amid coronavirus fears

The animating house’s museum will temporarily shut down as per the government’s request

As coronavirus continues to spread across the world, countries have gone to extreme lengths to prevent the infectious disease, which has been described by the World Health Organisation as a global health emergency.

The latest city to take precautions is Tokyo, which has requested the cancelling of all public gatherings for the foreseeable future. This sadly includes the Ghibli Museum, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist spots located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, a western city of Tokyo, Japan, which will be closing its doors between February 25 and March 17.

“On Friday, February 21, the City of Mitaka announced that it will act in accordance to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s decision to cancel or postpone its major indoor events for the next three weeks in order to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19),” read an apology on the museum’s official website.

“We apologise to those who were looking forward to visiting the museum, however we will continue to monitor the situation as we move forward in the future, so we would be grateful if you could check our website (for future updates),” it continued.

While refunds will be offered to anyone with tickets between those dates, the disappointment felt by Studio Ghibli fans is palpable. London-based Marianne, for instance, booked tickets to the museum months in advance: “I’ve always wanted to go to go to Japan, so my boyfriend and I started planning a big trip last year for his 30th birthday and got everything booked six months ago. Ghibli museum tickets are difficult to get, so I paid extra and booked via a company who made it a lot easier as a surprise present.”

“I got sent an email on Sunday morning explaining that the museum was closed temporarily in an effort to curb coronavirus. It’s open for a couple of days during our visit, but it’s way too late to get tickets now, so we’ll have to skip it,” she continued, adding: “I was upset as it was a big part of our trip, but mostly I’m just worried it’s a sign that other things are likely to close or get worse. The Sanrio theme park is closing too. We’re considering postponing entirely, partly because it feels like a waste spending a ton of money and going on a once in a lifetime trip if we can’t do anything we’d planned.”

Since the outbreak, people across the world have been living life on lockdown – people in the city of Wuhan have been forced to live life under strict quarantine; at least 140 Russians confined to a Siberian sanatorium after being evacuated from Wuhan; and fashion weeks have been affected worldwide.

With mountains of misinformation and fake news spreading, we spoke to an expert on how not to freak out about the disease.