• Coronavirus lockdowns have cleared parks, streets and famous landmarks around the world.
  • From São Paulo to Santorini, aerial photos reveal the impact of the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public spaces have emptied. Even from ground level, the change is clear – landmarks are deserted and our roads free of cars – but from up high, the contrast is even more stark.

As restrictions start to ease, these pictures are a reminder of the extraordinary changes seen around the world.

Time to stay home

An empty Times Square is seen on the street following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York City, U.S., March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon - RC2PMF9SDBPR
Times Square, New York.
Image: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

18 March - One of the world’s most famous spots, Times Square, New York, is much quieter than usual.

The human cost

Gravediggers open new graves as the number of dead rose after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Vila Formosa cemetery, Brazil's biggest cemetery, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2MWF9OMT6G
New graves are dug in Brazil.
Image: REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

2 April - Workers preparing more graves at Brazil’s largest cemetery, Vila Formosa in São Paulo.

The impact on religion

An aerial view of deserted Grand Mosque on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia April 24, 2020. Picture taken through a window. REUTERS/Yasser Bakhsh - RC28BG9CHBVB
The Grand Mosque, Mecca.
Image: REUTERS/Yasser Bakhsh

24 April - Mecca’s Grand Mosque is deserted on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.

A rollercoaster ride

An aerial view shows a roller coaster in Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, which is closed to the public, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan April 30, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon - RC2XEG9OZGMO
The Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise.
Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

30 April - This Japanese theme park has been closed to the public during the pandemic.

coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications - a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

The report reveals that the economic impact of COVID-19 is dominating companies’ risks perceptions.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

Tourism troubles

A view of empty streets in Oia, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the island of Santorini, Greece, May 7, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis - RC2SJG9PACUX
The streets of Oia, Santorini, have been emptied.
Image: REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

7 May - No people to be seen in Oia, on the (usually) popular Greek island of Santorini.

Sunbathing circles

Sunbathers lie in circles marked on the grass to aid in social distancing, to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 21, 2020.  REUTERS/Drone Base - RC29TG9BY8ZQ
Keep your distance.
Image: REUTERS/Drone Base

21 May - In San Francisco's Dolores park, circles have been painted to help with social distancing.

Any spaces?

Marks left by vehicle tires are left in an empty parking lot at Woodbridge Center Mall that remains closed due to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey U.S., May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson - RC2CTG9HXXZ1
Plenty of room for doughnuts.
Image: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

21 May - The car park of this New Jersey mall is empty, with only tyre marks visible from above.