Right now, more than a billion people around the world are living a very different life to usual. Social distancing and self-isolation measures have transformed our cities. Bars, restaurants and cultural venues have been shuttered. Public transport is suspended or reduced. Many institutions are closed to the public (though you can still tour some major landmarks online). In some countries, even going for a stroll requires official permission.
The result, in dozens of the world’s greatest cities, is a city that looks, sounds and even tastes very different to usual. Check out these striking images of empty streets and other usually busy places around the world, and get a glimpse into what happens when the human world suddenly becomes human-free.
Striking pictures of empty city streets
With many NYC companies asking employees to work from home, the city's streets and transportation hubs (including the Oculus at the World Trade Center, pictured) are weirdly empty.
More than nine million people live in London, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the UK capital right now: normally crowded places like Piccadilly Circus (pictured) are empty following a compulsory lockdown order.
The governor of Tokyo urged citizens to refrain from unnecessary outings this past weekend, and the city took her advice – Tokyo became a ghost town, right in the middle of sakura season.
Major Chicago attractions like Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk and the 606 are all but desolate these days.
Even before PM Lee Hsien Loong asked the nation to stay at home, many of Singapore’s streets and attractions were already eerily empty.
Portuguese citizens have entered isolation, and the streets are deserted except for queues outside supermarkets, pharmacies and post offices.
Australians have been told to stay home and practise physical distancing, which means many of Melbourne’s usually bustling streets are pretty much empty.
Areas of the city that were once full of locals and tourists are now empty, including whole boroughs like Downtown.
Some areas remain reasonably populated, but by and large, Sydney’s usually bustling city streets are pretty much empty.
With so many venues and businesses closed up, Boston's streets are at times completely empty.
Empty streets and desolate beaches are a sign of the times: Miami’s busiest places are practical ghost towns.