Eerie photos show empty airports, trains, and roads across the world as people stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak

A car-less street in Shanghai, China.
A car-less street in Shanghai, China.

Nicoco

  • Amid travel bans and restrictions, many airports, trains, and roads across the US and world are empty.

  • In the United States, President Trump announced earlier this month that all travel from Europe by non-US citizens will be suspended for 30 days.

  • Italy and France are facing nationwide lockdowns, and citizens have been told to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.

  • China, where the coronavirus originated, was the first country to go into lockdown, and is just now easing lockdown restrictions. China’s extreme travel bans and resulting empty roads contributed to a huge drop in air pollution.

Transport hubs around the world are starting to look like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Devoid of their usual travelers, the once bustling centers have an unusual and eerie appearance. 

Italy and France, two of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, are under strict lockdowns in which people are only allowed to leave their homes when it is absolutely necessary. Anyone who wants to travel there has to get permission from authorities.  

China is home to two of the most populated cities in the world, Shanghai and Beijing. The airports in both cities are almost completely vacant, and many highways can be seen without a single car, though as lockdowns begin to ease, they’ll slowly come back.

Take a look at these photos that capture metropolitan abandonment in the wake of coronavirus.

Many airlines have been suspending flights to China, leaving Beijing Daxing International Airport a ghost town.

Bejing Daxing International Airport.
Bejing Daxing International Airport.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters

More than 100 airlines have canceled some or all flights to China. Responding to a lack of customer demand and travel restrictions in China and internationally, airlines like Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines have stopped service to China, and many other countries as well. 

This train in Beijing has hardly any passengers.

An almost empty subway in Beijing, China.
An almost empty subway in Beijing, China.

Andy Wong/AP Images

Beijing enforced a 14-day quarantine on international travel as cases of coronavirus continue to increase in Europe and the United States.

In Shanghai, multi-lane highways don’t have a single car.

Empty highways in Shanghai.
Empty highways in Shanghai.

Nicoco

Shanghai is China’s most populous city, with an estimated 27,058,479 people, according to the World Population review.

It’s the same with this intersection in Shanghai.

A car-less street in Shanghai, China.
A car-less street in Shanghai, China.

Nicoco

Nicoco

This map of worldwide cases of COVID-19 shows the number of cases overall, active cases, recovered cases, and deaths in Shanghai.

Ferries are also a popular mode of transport in Shanghai, but this one’s completely vacant.

An empty ferry in Shanghai, China.
An empty ferry in Shanghai, China.

Nicoco

Shanghai-based photographer Nicoco captured this image. She told Insider in February, “There is a lot of anxiety in the air. The virus has robbed Chinese people from what should be the happiest time of year.”

Hong Kong International Airport was closed to most travel to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

A traveler in Hong Kong International Airport.
A traveler in Hong Kong International Airport.

Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong was one of the first places to practice extreme measures like social distancing, travel restrictions, and handwashing. However, it is due to see a second wave of cases after relaxing travel rules.

This road to enter Hong Kong was one of the only ones open, and there’s still hardly a car to be seen.

A road sign of Zhuhai, Macao on the way to Hong Kong.
A road sign of Zhuhai, Macao on the way to Hong Kong.

May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In February, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that all border crossings would be closed except for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Shenzhen Bay Port and the HK international airport, according to the South China Morning Post.

There’s hardly anyone at this train station in Tokyo, Japan.

The Tokyo train station in Japan.
The Tokyo train station in Japan.

Eugene Hashimoto/AP Images

East Japan Railway Company said it believes the reduction in passenger traffic due to coronavirus put revenue down by ¥11 billion in February. The company’s president, Yuji Fukasawa, said, “We’ll see a bigger impact in March.”

There’s not a soul at the arrivals terminal in this photo taken at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

An empty arrivals terminal following the coronavirus outbreak, at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.
An empty arrivals terminal following the coronavirus outbreak, at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

Reuters

Thailand’s public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has cautioned citizens against traveling. He warned against buying flights, and said, “Even though tickets are cheap, it could be your last holiday.”

Bangkok airport’s departures terminal is full of empty seats.

Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

On March 23, Thai officials reported 122 new coronavirus cases, making the country’s total 721 cases overall, according to the Bangkok Post.

In New Jersey, Newark Airport lines in mid-March were almost non-existent amid growing fears of air travel.

Newark airport.
Newark airport.

Chloe Pantazi

On March 14, President Trump announced that all foreign nationals from Europe will be barred from entering the United States for the next 30 days. 

Business class seats on this United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Tokyo were all without passengers.

Empty seats on a United Airlines flight.
Empty seats on a United Airlines flight.

David J. Phillip/AP Images

The airline recently said it is canceling 10% of domestic flights and 20% of international ones in the coming months in response to coronavirus. 

This Delta flight from New York to San Francisco was nearly empty on March 17.

Empty Delta plane at JFK coronavirus
Empty Delta plane at JFK coronavirus

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Delta recently announced that it would be parking half of its fleet, making big cuts to executive pay, and sending 10,000 workers on unpaid leave. 

New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order for the entire state to stay at home.

Times Square in New York City.
Times Square in New York City.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Cuomo recently warned that the coronavirus could last up to nine months and infect up to 80% of the population.

In Brooklyn, New York, a woman crossed a completely empty street.

A woman crossing a street in Dumbo, Brooklyn, in New York City.
A woman crossing a street in Dumbo, Brooklyn, in New York City.

Busà Photography/Getty Images

Cuomo told New Yorkers to prepare for widespread business closings and stay-at-home orders that would likely last months.

New Rochelle became a coronavirus hotspot in New York, and the state created a “containment area” around the city.

A train platform in New Rochelle.
A train platform in New Rochelle.

Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP

New Rochelle citizen Eli Epstein told CNN what it’s like living in the containment area: “It’s a mixture of boredom and anxiety. We’re cut off from our lives, our friends, our extended families. We’re stuck at home.”

San Francisco was the first city in the United States to impose a shelter-in-place order on March 16.

San Francisco on March 18, 2020.
San Francisco on March 18, 2020.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The city’s shelter-in-place order is set to last until April 7. Citizens are still allowed to go out for groceries, supplies, and medicine. 

San Francisco’s iconic cable cars have temporarily stopped running.

The street in San Francisco seen without its iconic cable cars.
The street in San Francisco seen without its iconic cable cars.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The city has banned non-essential travel on foot or via scooters, bicycles, cars, or by public transportation. 

On March 19, California ordered its 40 million residents to stay home except for essential outings.

Downtown Los Angeles.
Downtown Los Angeles.

Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom told President Trump that he believes 56% of the state’s population would be infected over an eight-week period.

Airport stores at Los Angeles’ LAX are empty as flight numbers continue to dwindle.

A retailer at LAX Airport.
A retailer at LAX Airport.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

A CDC contractor at LAX tested positive for coronavirus after screening incoming passengers for the illness.

Camino de Ronda, one of the main streets in Granada, Spain, was without traffic on March 15, the day that the country became the second in Europe to issue a nationwide quarantine.

Camino de Ronda in Granada, Spain.
Camino de Ronda in Granada, Spain.

Carlos Gil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The death toll in Spain more than doubled over the course of three days, with more than 2,000 total deaths by March 23.

The counters are all closed at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Closed counters at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.
Closed counters at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

On March 10, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she estimates 60% to 70% of the German population will contract the coronavirus.

France has also imposed a stay-at-home order on all citizens.

The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in France.
The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in France.

Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

French citizens are now required to have a form with them every time they leave their home. The French government said they would deploy 100,000 police officers to enforce the new rules and that citizens found in violation could be fined the equivalent of $150.

In Europe, Italy has been the most affected country, and has gone into lockdown. This empty street in Milan shows how few people are leaving their homes.

An empty street in Milan, Italy.
An empty street in Milan, Italy.

Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters

Italians are only supposed to leave their homes when they absolutely need to. Stores like pharmacies and grocery stores have remained open. 

This masked traveler looks to be one of the only people at the Milan Central Train Station.

A person wears a mask on an escalator inside Central train station, in Milan, Italy.
A person wears a mask on an escalator inside Central train station, in Milan, Italy.

Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP

To travel, Italians must get special permission from police. Public airports and train stations are still in operation, but only those who have been cleared by police may use them.

In Rome, this parking lot at Fiumicino Airport has just a few cars.

The parking lot at Rome's Fiumicino airport.
The parking lot at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

Yara Nardi/Reuters

On March 12, officials announced that Rome would close one of the two terminals in its main airport starting March 17. 

Trains in Rome are almost empty as people are remaining at home.

An empty train in Rome, Italy.
An empty train in Rome, Italy.

Remo Casilli/Reuters

On March 18, Italy reported 475 deaths in a single day.

The same goes for the streets in Rome. A lone bicycle is the only thing parked at this taxi stand.

An empty street in Rome, Italy.
An empty street in Rome, Italy.

Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Citizens have been told not to go out and socialize. Sporting events, schools, universities, and even mass have been shut down across the country.

In Naples, Italy, Mount Vesuvius can be seen in the background of a car-less street.

A near empty street in Naples, Italy.
A near empty street in Naples, Italy.

Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP

Flavia Riccardo, a researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Italian National Institute of Health, told TIME that there could have been cases of coronavirus in Italy before they were diagnosed. “This happened right when we were having our peak of influenza and people were presenting with influenza symptoms,” Riccardo said.

Things aren’t any better in Venice, where this lonely gondolier is the only one on the Grand Canal.

A gondolier on the Grand Canal as the sun sets in Venice, Italy.
A gondolier on the Grand Canal as the sun sets in Venice, Italy.

Francisco Seco/AP Photo

The city’s popular carnival festival was canceled last month and many museums, including the Leonardo da Vinci museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza San Marco, and the Museo del Vetro have all been closed until further notice due to the virus.

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