As coronavirus spreads across China, cities resemble ghost towns, residents show how to kill time

As coronavirus spreads across China, cities resemble ghost towns

A man wearing a face mask waits for a train at a nearly empty subway station in Beijing. (AP Photo: Mark Schiefelbein)

The novel coronavirus, which has now spread to every region of China and more than 20 other countries, was Thursday declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The death toll due to the virus rose to 213 Friday, with the number of confirmed cases exceeding 9,000, China’s health authorities confirmed.

Several countries are scrambling to evacuate their nationals from China, and in particular Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. The city of 11 million is in lockdown as authorities try to contain the virus.

In fact, several cities in China, including its capital Beijing and financial capital Shanghai, resemble ghost towns. Very few people seem to be taking the risk of leaving their homes for fear of being infected by the virus.

Schools, offices, restaurants and cinemas remain closed to keep people from gathering. Social media users are telling stories of empty streets and isolated public areas.

As coronavirus spreads across China, cities resemble ghost towns

An empty metro in Beijing. (AP Photo: Mark Schiefelbein)

Falling on Chinese New Year, the unprecedented situation also has social media users desperately trying to entertain themselves.

Creativity — and boredom — is at its highest, as videos show people killing time at home. One video shows a man counting rice, while another shows how a woman made her house a carnival for her children. In another video, neighbours are seen catching up on the roof.

Here are some tweets where users have posted photos and videos of how empty the streets are


An empty subway station in Beijing at peak afternoon hours

What an empty mall looks like in China

Manya Koetse also had a suggestion of how to kill time if you are amid the lockdown in China...

China's Global Times and South China Morning Post also published videos on how to kill time if you are stuck at home

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