• Nearly 3 billion people are under some form of COVID-19 lockdown worldwide.
  • With people stuck indoors, iconic sites across the globe are deserted.
  • These images show cities at what would usually be among their busiest times – midday.

Midday in most major towns and cities is usually a busy time. The hustle and bustle of everyday life has, however, been brought to a hushed standstill by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

As the number of confirmed cases hits 1.3 million and more than 180 countries struggle to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, high noon during lockdown is eerily quiet.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

These images show midday on 31 March 2020 around the world – a world during lockdown.

[All statistics were checked and correct as of 7 April 2020]

Wuhan, China

The new coronavirus came to light when the outbreak began in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. More than 3,200 of the 3,335 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in China occurred in Hubei, the province containing Wuhan.

A mobile phone showing the time at noon, is displayed for a photo in front of an almost empty road with low traffic, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, March 31, 2020.
Wuhan, China.
Image: REUTERS/Aly Song

Grand Central Terminal, New York

With more than 368,000 confirmed cases, the US is now the country worst affected by the coronavirus crisis. New York City has been hit hardest, with 72,181 confirmed infections and more than 3,480 deaths.

The clock strikes noon at the main concourse of the Grand Central Terminal, which is almost empty during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 31, 2020.
Grand Central Terminal, New York.
Image: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Red Square, Moscow

Russia has reported over 7,490 cases and 58 deaths. It has also sent a planeload of medical supplies to the US, including ventilators and personal protective equipment, which landed in New York on 1 April.

The clock on Spasskaya tower showing the time at noon, is pictured next to Moscow’s Kremlin, and St. Basil’s Cathedral as they stand on an empty square, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Moscow, Russia, March 31, 2020.
Red Square, Moscow.
Image: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Damascus Gate, Jerusalem

One of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem, Damascus Gate is a popular tourist spot, now mostly deserted. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Israel has reached more than 9,000. The Bnei Brak suburb of Tel Aviv has become one of the centres of infection.

A watch showing the time at noon, is displayed for a photo in front of Damascus Gate, as it is in front of an empty staircase, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Jerusalem's Old City, March 31, 2020.
Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
Image: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The Merlion, Singapore

Singapore was praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for implementing strict measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But its containment plan is showing signs of strain, with infections rising tenfold in the last month – a development experts say could show how difficult it will be to curb coronavirus elsewhere.

A watch showing the time at noon, is displayed for a photo in front of Merlion Park, which is almost empty, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore, March 31, 2020.
The Merlion, Singapore.
Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su

Shibuya, Tokyo

Japan had avoided the very high levels of COVID-19 infection seen in other places, and while schools have been closed, most businesses have been operating as usual. But as fears of an explosion in cases grow in recent days, the country it set to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other regions.

A man wearing a protective face mask, takes a photo with his mobile phone at noon, at Shibuya Crossing, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, March 31, 2020.
Shibuya, Tokyo.
Image: REUTERS/Issei Kato