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Tuesday 25 February 2020

The price of fear

Under observation

From face masks to cancelled flights, the coronavirus is a very visible contagion

Look at the COVID-19 virus through a microscope, and it is a scene of busyness: clusters of virulent particles, only nanometres in size, attacking the cells of any unfortunate person who has been infected.

But look at the effects of this particular coronavirus on the wider world, and it is often quite the opposite. Global conferences have been cancelled. Offices and factories shuttered. Travel routes suspended. Whatever the severity of the actual illness – and there are currently almost 80,000 cases and over 2,600 deaths – it has already done a lot to dampen the economic prospects of individuals, businesses, regions and even countries.

Medical staff arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital.
Temperature checks for the people of Guangzhou in China.
A disinfection worker sprays antiseptic solution in a train in Seoul, South Korea.
Officials in protective suits check on an elderly man who collapsed and died on a street near a hospital in Wuhan.
Construction workers drive excavators at the site of a new 1,000-bed field hospital for accommodating the increasing number of coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China.
The hospital nears completion.
Chinese children wear plastic bottles as makeshift protective masks while waiting to check in to a flight at Beijing Capital Airport.
A worker wearing a protective suit uses a fogging machine to disinfect business premises in Shanghai.
A Chinese man kisses his partner goodbye as she leaves Beijing Railway Station to travel home ahead of the annual Spring Festival.
Two people walk in an empty park on in Wuhan, China.
Restaurant workers play cards in the window of their restaurant in Beijing.
Commuters with protective face masks wait to board a boat at Pratunam Pier in Bangkok, Thailand.
A woman purchases surgical masks at a store in Hong Kong.
A Chinese man wears a protective mask and swimming goggles after returning from the Spring Festival holiday.
Disinfecting a quarantine zone converted from a hotel in Wuhan.
Passengers sleep during a the flight to Shanghai – one of the shrinking few that actually went ahead.
A Chinese woman walks through the snow on an empty and shuttered commercial street in Beijing, China.
People attend a vigil in Hong Kong for the doctor Li Wenliang, who died in Wuhan after raising the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak.
Waiting for the bus on a nearly empty street in the normally busy Central Business District of Beijing.
High-speed trains remain in the yard after various transport services were closed.
A train attendant gestures in support of medical staff who are leaving for Wuhan.
People wearing face masks ride escalators in Tokyo, Japan.
Spring Airlines ground staff stand in front of the check-in counter at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
Thousands of couples attend a mass wedding held in South Korea.
A passenger walks through an empty carriage on a high-speed train destined for Guangzhou, China.
A family wearing masks and makeshift protection gear wait for their train at the Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai, China.
Officials wearing protective gear stand guard outside a residential building in Hong Kong.
A patient is transferred by ambulance to the Infectious Disease Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.
The deserted roads and bridges of Wuhan.
An employee puts up a closing notice on the gate of a casino in Macau, China.
Stacks of toilet paper for sale in Hong Kong – the city has been hit by a wave of panic-buying.
People wearing protective suits walk from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard.
A passenger waves from behind banners reading: “Please broadcast this on TV”, “Thank you for reporting this”, and “Shortage of medicine”.
A shopper pushes a trolley past the empty shelves of a grocery store in Hong Kong.
A man stands alone as he watches the races during the Hong Kong Gold Cup day at the Sha Tin racecourse.
Delivering vegetables to a hospital in Wuhan.
A Chinese worker has his temperature checked on a deserted commercial street.
A security guard stands in a nearly empty subway car during “rush hour” in Beijing.
A medical centre in Brighton, England, is closed amid fears that coronavirus has reached the city.
The MS Westerdam cruise ship waits in harbour so that its passengers can be tested for the coronavirus.
Residents wait to be given access to a supermarket in the Italian town of Casalpusterlengo, after a new coronavirus outbreak.
Japanese football fans wearing protective masks at a league match in Kobe.
A tourist wearing a protective face mask and a Carnival mask in Venice, during the usual period of the Carnival festivities which have been cancelled.


Photographs by Getty Images


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