| 3.8°C Dublin

Ghost World: 20 images that show how coronavirus put a planet on pause

Satellite images, photographs and webcams are revealing how Covid-19 has shuttered tourist sites and cut crowds all over the world

Ghost World: 20 images that show how coronavirus put a planet on pause Close

A composite of images shows scenes before and after the closure of Sydney's Bondi Beach (left, photos by Jenny Evans/Getty Images), a dramatic reduction in Ryanair flights (top right; screengrab from radarbox24.com) and empty spaces surrounding the pyramids at Giza in Egypt (bottom right; photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP via Getty).

A composite of images shows scenes before and after the closure of Sydney's Bondi Beach (left, photos by Jenny Evans/Getty Images), a dramatic reduction in Ryanair flights (top right; screengrab from radarbox24.com) and empty spaces surrounding the pyramids at Giza in Egypt (bottom right; photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP via Getty).

Pigeons fly at a deserted Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (AP)

Pigeons fly at a deserted Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (AP)

A view of the famous 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a mask in Times Square, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 24, 2020 in New York City (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A view of the famous 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a mask in Times Square, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 24, 2020 in New York City (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two satellite images show Connolly Station and surrounding traffic in Dublin on March 10 and March 22, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

Two satellite images show Connolly Station and surrounding traffic in Dublin on March 10 and March 22, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

People walk in an almost empty St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy (Anteo Marinoni/LaPresse/AP)

People walk in an almost empty St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy (Anteo Marinoni/LaPresse/AP)

A screengrab from Radarbox24.com showing just a handful of Ryanair planes flying at 12.24pm on Wednesday, March 25.

A screengrab from Radarbox24.com showing just a handful of Ryanair planes flying at 12.24pm on Wednesday, March 25.

Crowds at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in an archive photo from 2014 (Getty), and another image taken this week (bottom) by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP.

Crowds at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt in an archive photo from 2014 (Getty), and another image taken this week (bottom) by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP.

Princess Cruises' 'Sky Princess' uses her balcony lights to signal, 'We Will Be Back'. Cruising is on pause as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Princess Cruises' 'Sky Princess' uses her balcony lights to signal, 'We Will Be Back'. Cruising is on pause as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Kylemore Abbey plans to go green for St Patrick's Day, 2020.

Kylemore Abbey plans to go green for St Patrick's Day, 2020.

A deserted Temple Bar pub in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day. 2020. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A deserted Temple Bar pub in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day. 2020. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

A composite image shows before and after it was closed to the public on March 22, 2020. Photos by Jenny Evans/Getty Images

A composite image shows before and after it was closed to the public on March 22, 2020. Photos by Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Getty Images

The US Capitol’s East Plaza is deserted after it was closed to tourists and non-essential visitors

The US Capitol’s East Plaza is deserted after it was closed to tourists and non-essential visitors

AP

London's Palace Theatre, which usually shows Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, sits in a deserted Shaftesbury Avenue, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

London's Palace Theatre, which usually shows Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, sits in a deserted Shaftesbury Avenue, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

PA

A deserted Piazza Navona in central Rome on March 24, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP via Getty

A deserted Piazza Navona in central Rome on March 24, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP via Getty

AFP via Getty Images

A European Space Agency image shows reduced air pollution over China during its lockdown period. Photo: ESA.int

A European Space Agency image shows reduced air pollution over China during its lockdown period. Photo: ESA.int

A person walks through a mostly deserted parking garage at Raleigh Durham International Airport in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

A person walks through a mostly deserted parking garage at Raleigh Durham International Airport in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

AP

A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

A tourist looks at her phone while standing at an overlook by the (L to R) Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza pyramids  in Egypt on March 13, 2020. Photo: Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP

A tourist looks at her phone while standing at an overlook by the (L to R) Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza pyramids in Egypt on March 13, 2020. Photo: Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP

AFP via Getty Images

A woman walks along a deserted street during a government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Siliguri, India on March 24, 2020. Photo by DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman walks along a deserted street during a government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Siliguri, India on March 24, 2020. Photo by DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The Gate of the Orient, the tallest building in Suzhou, Jiangsu (China), joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. The message on the tower reads ‘Ireland loves China’.

The Gate of the Orient, the tallest building in Suzhou, Jiangsu (China), joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. The message on the tower reads ‘Ireland loves China’.

/

A composite of images shows scenes before and after the closure of Sydney's Bondi Beach (left, photos by Jenny Evans/Getty Images), a dramatic reduction in Ryanair flights (top right; screengrab from radarbox24.com) and empty spaces surrounding the pyramids at Giza in Egypt (bottom right; photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP via Getty).

The streets of Temple Bar, deserted on St Patrick's Day.

Disney parks shuttered, from Paris to Florida, California and Shanghai. Pigeons flying by a ghostly Gateway to India.

Those are just some of the eerie images emerging (see gallery above) as countries go into lockdown and tourist sites turn the lights out in an effort to contain the global fallout from Covid-19.

The coronavirus has spread with frightening velocity this month, from limited clusters to hundreds of thousands of cases all over the world.

Close

Pigeons fly at a deserted Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (AP)

Pigeons fly at a deserted Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (AP)

Pigeons fly at a deserted Gateway of India monument in Mumbai (AP)

In response, it feels like the planet itself is shutting down.

In one composite image, Sydney's Bondi Beach is seen with a large gathering of beachgoers on March 20, and lying empty just two days later after it was closed to the public due to the outbreak.

Close

A view of the famous 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a mask in Times Square, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 24, 2020 in New York City (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A view of the famous 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a mask in Times Square, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 24, 2020 in New York City (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

A view of the famous 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a mask in Times Square, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 24, 2020 in New York City (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Other images show New York's 'Naked Cowboy' wearing a facemask in a strangely quiet Times Square, empty spaces around Egypt's pyramids of Giza, and cruise ships sailing away on hiatus.

Throughout the month, satellite images and webcams (like this one of New York's Times Square) have also illustrated stark, before-and-after contrasts in crowd and traffic levels as the crisis plays out.

Close

Princess Cruises' 'Sky Princess' uses her balcony lights to signal, 'We Will Be Back'. Cruising is on pause as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Princess Cruises' 'Sky Princess' uses her balcony lights to signal, 'We Will Be Back'. Cruising is on pause as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Princess Cruises' 'Sky Princess' uses her balcony lights to signal, 'We Will Be Back'. Cruising is on pause as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Flight tracking apps like FlightRadar24 and RadarBox have been posting images more spacious skies, as airlines continue to ground planes.

"Over 90pc of Ryanair’s aircraft will be grounded for the coming weeks," the airline said this week, in another line of mindblowing news.

Close

A screengrab from Radarbox24.com showing just a handful of Ryanair planes flying at 12.24pm on Wednesday, March 25.

A screengrab from Radarbox24.com showing just a handful of Ryanair planes flying at 12.24pm on Wednesday, March 25.

A screengrab from Radarbox24.com showing just a handful of Ryanair planes flying at 12.24pm on Wednesday, March 25.

On St Patrick's Day, Tourism Ireland's 'Global Greening' saw over 400 iconic buildings and landmark around the world go green in a brief note of hope... many of them in eerie scenes of desertion.

Many see in the images almost apocalyptic scenes of devastated economies and tourism industries, with vast numbers of jobs lost, planes grounded and talk of multi-billion dollar bailouts already begun.

Others, however, have noted an opportunity for a planet on pause - suggesting the shutdown may be a chance for nature to take a breath, and lessons to be learned on climate change.

The European Space Agency, for instance, shared imagery from its Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite revealing the decline of air pollution over affected areas of China and Northern Italy during quarantine periods.

And not everywhere is closing down.

In January, China was the first country to aggressively shutter society in an attempt to control the pandemic.

Close

Two satellite images show Connolly Station and surrounding traffic in Dublin on March 10 and March 22, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

Two satellite images show Connolly Station and surrounding traffic in Dublin on March 10 and March 22, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

Two satellite images show Connolly Station and surrounding traffic in Dublin on March 10 and March 22, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies.

This week, it began lifting restrictions in most areas of Hubei province, and parts of the Great Wall re-opened to visitors.

Online Editors