Satellite images reveal the impact of coronavirus from space

A series of satellite images shows the impact of the coronavirus outbreak from above, with roads empty, pilgrimage sites deserted and new hospitals springing up in China.

The aerial photographs, released by Colorado-based space technology firm Maxar, show normally bustling spots from Mecca to Beijing thinned of their usual crowds.

One image shows only a handful of pilgrims circling the granite Kaaba at Mecca’s Grand Mosque – a sacred site usually thronged with Muslim worshippers – after Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round ‘umrah’ pilgrimage.

An image above the Hazrat Masumeh Shrine in Qom shows one of Iran’s most hallowed places virtually empty, after the country became the centre of the virus outbreak in the Middle East.

Elsewhere, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square has only a handful of cars passing by, while tourists are largely absent from outside Milan’s Duomo and a plaza at Tokyo Disneyland after both were closed over virus fears.

Photos of Wuhan also show the sites where brand new hospitals were hurriedly constructed to deal with the huge numbers of virus patients.

GRAND MOSQUE, MECCA, The holiest site in Islam is packed with pilgrims in the top picture on February 14, before the virus had spread to the Middle East, and much more sparsely populated in the bottom picture on March 3
DISNEYLAND TOKYO, The theme park in Japan has been closed because of the virus outbreak, picture from March 1 (below) and picture from February 1 (top)
QOM, IRAN, The Hazrat Masumeh Shrine in the holy city of Qom is far emptier on March 1 (bottom) than it had been on September 25 (top)
TIANANMEN SQUARE, BEIJING, A healthy crowd of people were milling around the emblematic plaza on February 21 last year (top image), but on February 11 this year the square was almost deserted
WUHAN, CHINA, Images show the location where the Huoshenshan hospital was hurriedly constructed to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The hospital is seen above on February 22, and before above in 2017