01/04/2020 3:03 PM AEDT | Updated 01/04/2020 3:03 PM AEDT

9 Dystopian Pictures Of The Coronavirus Crisis That Were Unthinkable Just A Month Ago

From 'disinfecting' masses to separating homeless people in a parking lot, these images show the severe impact Covid-19 is having around the world.

Steve Marcus / Reuters
Homeless people get settled in a temporary parking lot shelter at Cashman Center, with spaces marked for social distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease in Las Vegas.

Life is currently on hold for at least one third of the world’s population, an unprecedented situation brought on by the global spread of coronavirus.

People have had to quickly adapt to fundamental changes in the way they live their lives, from entire countries on lockdown to the now-eerily familiar sight of their leaders presenting ever-rising death tolls.

The pandemic has led to images that would have been unimaginable, even just months ago. 

Here are nine pictures that illustrate how much has changed in such little time.

The Pope giving blessings to an empty St Peter’s Square

As mass public gatherings are now banned in many countries, places used to constantly hosting thousands of people now stand empty.

On Friday Pope Francis delivered a “Urbi et Orbi” blessing – normally reserved just for Christmas and Easter – to a completely empty St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

Yara Nardi / Reuters
Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing - normally given only at Christmas and Easter - from an empty St Peter's Square.

Disinfecting entire cities

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has so far infected 800,00 people and led to 38,000 deaths worldwide, governments have been forced to take extraordinary measures.

In this picture taken on 13 March, firefighters in western Tehran have been redeployed to disinfect the streets of the Iranian capital.

Firefighters disinfect a street against the new coronavirus, in western Tehran, Iran.

Socially-distancing the homeless

The US is fast becoming the global epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and the country’s death toll climbed past 3,000 on Monday.

In Nevada authorities have taken the step of asking homeless people to sleep in a temporary parking lot shelter where they are separated by boxes painted onto the ground.

New York’s massive hospital ship

New York City’s iconic skyline has a new addition this week, a massive US Navy hospital ship drafted in to relieve pressure on the city’s overstretched medical services.

The USNS Comfort will treat non-coronavirus patients, including those who require surgery and critical care, in an effort to free up other resources to fight the virus.

Mike Segar / Reuters
The USNS Comfort passes Manhattan as it enters New York Harbour.

The gang of goats in Wales

Not all the scenes making headlines around the world are grim. One side effect of the lockdown currently in place in the UK is a gang of goats that have taken advantage of the quiet to stroll around the deserted streets of the Welsh seaside town of Llandudno.

Tourism grinds to a halt

The global tourism industry is one of the most visible victims of the coronavirus pandemic and sights around the world normally heaving with tourists are now deserted.

In this picture only municipal workers are to be seen as they sanitise the areas surrounding the Giza pyramids complex in Egypt.


The isolation of loved ones

One of the most tragic consequences of lockdowns and travel restrictions in place in various countries is the inability of families to be together, made even more difficult to bear when one of them becomes ill.

In Seattle earlier this month, Lori Spencer went to visit her mother as best she could after the 81-year-old tested positive for coronavirus.


Queues. Lots of queues.

Brits have long been politely acquainted with the art of queuing but the last month has seen it taken to another level.

Most shop still open are now operating a one-in-one-out system and those waiting must keep their distance from each other. 

OLI SCARFF via Getty Images

The temporary end of the audience

Sporting events are another high profile victim of the outbreak.

Major events like the Tokyo Olympics are on hold while those that do go ahead now do so minus crowds of fans.

In this picture from March 15, the Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats face off in an empty Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. 

Paul Kane via Getty Images