Satellite photos show the deserted streets of Wuhan as the city enters its 8th day of quarantine

Two satellite images show traffic on the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China, on January 12, and on January 28.

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Two satellite images show traffic on the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China, on January 12, and on January 28.
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Planet Labs Inc / Handout / Reuters
  • Since January 23, Wuhan, China, has been on lockdown to stop the Wuhan coronavirus from spreading.
  • Five million left the city before it was closed off, but the city was swollen with people visiting for the Lunar New Year, and 9 million remain.
  • Regardless, the lockdown’s effect is noticeable from above.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Wuhan looks like a ghost town.

Since January 23, the city of 11 million has been on lockdown. The Chinese government closed off Wuhan to try and stop the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, from spreading.

The coronavirus is thought to have originated at a wet market within the city. As of Thursday, it had killed 170 people, and infected at least 7,900 worldwide.

Five million people left before the lockdown, and and an estimated 9 million people were in the city once the quarantine started.

Despite this, satellite photos show a city without traffic. Typically congested streets and train stations are empty. Hotel lobbies are without patrons.

Photos on the ground show a few people still brave enough to venture out. But for the most part, nothing is going on.

Here’s what life in Wuhan looks like under quarantine.


Wuhan, China, appears to be abandoned.


On January 23, China closed off Wuhan, along with 15 other cities. Bus and train service stopped. Tunnels were closed off.

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Wuhan Yangtze River Tunnel is blocked with a barrier following an outbreak of the new coronavirus and the city’s lockdown, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 25, 2020.
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China Daily / Reuters

Sources: Business Insider, Business Insider


Five million people left before the lockdown, and 9 million are still in Wuhan. But from above, day or night, the effect is noticeable.

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An aerial view shows residential and commercial buildings of Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city.
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Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty

Source: Business Insider


The contrast before and after the lockdown is stark. Here’s traffic on the the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge, on January 12.

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A satellite image shows traffic on the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China, January 12, 2020, before the city is put under virtual lockdown due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
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Planet Labs Inc / Handout / Reuters

By January 28, the bridge was empty.

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A satellite image shows traffic on the Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China, January 12, 2020, before the city is put under virtual lockdown due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
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Planet Labs Inc / Handout / Reuters

The roads beside Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan were full on January 12.

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A satellite image shows the Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan, China, January 12, 2020, before the city is put under virtual lockdown due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
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Planet Labs Inc / Handout / Reuters

By January 28, they were deserted.

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A satellite image shows the Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan, China, January 28, 2020, after the city is put under virtual lockdown due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
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Planet Labs Inc / Handout / Reuters

A satellite image of an airport in Wuhan in October 2019 show a parking lot full of cars and planes in the runway.

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Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies

However, a recent image of the same airport shows an eerily empty parking lot with grounded planes surrounding the terminal.

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Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies

Other train stations, which are typically bustling, were empty, too, except for paramilitary police guarding the entrance.

Source: Global News


Only a week earlier, on January 22, the city was still functioning.


But by January 29, major roads were completely deserted during the day.

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A major road going through the streets of the city remains deserted as people stay at home and avoid transport due to the virus outbreak in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province on January 29, 2020.
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Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty

Hotel’s emptied out. Lobbies, like this one, were empty, except for a lone security guard.

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The hotel lobby is pictured deserted as guests and visitors stay away due to the SARS-like virus affecting the city of Wuhan in Hubei province on January 29, 2020.
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Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty

There are no vaccines available that can prevent people from catching the coronavirus. For the average person, wearing a mask is not as effective as everyday measures like hand-washing and avoiding close contact with anyone who might be infected.

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A woman walks on an empty road on January 27, 2020 in Wuhan, China.
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Getty

Source: Business Insider


Residents have been told to stay home, but some still take walks …

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A woman walks on an empty road on January 27, 2020 in Wuhan, China. As the death toll from the coronavirus reaches 80 in China with over 2700 confirmed cases, the city remains on lockdown for a fourth day.
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Getty

Source: Business Insider


… or take their children to play outside.


But they’re in the minority.

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Two residents walk in an empty Jiangtan park on January 27, 2020 in Wuhan, China. As the death toll from the coronavirus reaches 80 in China with over 2700 confirmed cases, the city remains on lockdown for a fourth day.
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Getty

There’s one area that appears to have increased activity…

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Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies

…construction sites for two new hospitals to accommodate the overwhelming number of patients, which should be open at the beginning of February.

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Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies