In pictures: How COVID-19 changed our cities in 2020

EMMA BATHA

FROM compulsory mask-wearing to pop-up cycle lanes and sanitising robots, the coronavirus pandemic has changed our cities in countless ways. Here are some images from 2020. 

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A dog wears a mask inside an autorickshaw in Chennai, India, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/P. Ravikumar

As lockdowns took hold, some of the world’s noisiest and most crowded cities became eerily quiet, including metropolises like New York – dubbed the “city that never sleeps”.

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Clockwise: Deserted streets, Paris, France, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol. The Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge, Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto. A policeman crosses a street in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo. Empty streets, Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
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Pigeons roam Milan’s Piazza Duomo square during Italy’s first lockdown, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Public transport also emptied as governments encouraged people to stay home or find alternative ways to travel. City mayors pedestrianised roads and installed pop-up bike lanes.

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A woman wearing protective mask and gloves travels in an empty Mass Rapid Transit train in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
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Cyclists on Tower Bridge in London, Britain, May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

As hospitals became overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, people in cities across Europe came out on their balconies and doorsteps to applaud their health workers in daily or weekly displays of appreciation. Rainbows also appeared around the world as a symbol of support for key workers.

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People applaud healthcare workers from their balconies in Ronda, Spain, May 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
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A pedestrian crossing painted in rainbow colours in London, Britain, denoting support for key workers. August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

With the COVID-19 death toll soaring, some cities allocated special sections in cemeteries to bury victims of the pandemic.

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A cemetery worker digs new graves at the Xico cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, June 10, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Repeated lockdowns and falls in tourism hit the hospitality, retail and entertainment sectors particularly hard. Food courier companies proliferated across cities as people ate in. 

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A waiter shuts up the Caffe Torino bar in Turin after the Italian government introduces new COVID-19 restrictions, Italy, October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
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Chefs’ jackets are laid out in a Brussels’ square in a protest by cafe and restaurant workers demanding more government support, Belgium, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman
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A Glovo food delivery courier cycles down an empty street in Madrid, Spain, April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina

As cities eased restrictions after the first lockdown, restaurants and other venues found creative ways to enforce social distancing. Open-air cinemas also became popular with some places introducing floating cinemas.

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The Maison Saigon restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, uses pandas to separate diners. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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People in New York’s Domino Park sit in circles to keep them apart, May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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Movie-goers watch a film from a gondola at a float-in cinema in Metro Manila, Philippines, December 18, 2020. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

From public washstands that also clean your mobile phone to robots that deliver drinks to your table, technology has been employed in a multitude of ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus in cities.

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Clockwise: A robot with a hand sanitiser dispenser goes around a shopping complex in Shanghai, China March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song. A woman sits inside a bus stop equipped with a thermal imaging camera, UV sterilizer and air conditioner in Seoul, South Korea, August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran. Rwandan police fly a drone fitted with a megaphone to enforce a lockdown in Kigali, April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana. A robot dog called SPOT, used to enforce social distancing, is tested in Singapore May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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A robot serves in a Chinese restaurant in Maastricht in the Netherlands to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

The pandemic has also led to an explosion of street art in cities around the world.

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Clockwise: A mural supporting frontline workers in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan. A wall in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner. Brazilian artist Mundano works on a mural honouring women helping fight COVID-19 in the Heliopolis slum in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 28, 2020. A mural paying tribute to police and healthcare workers in Mumbai, India, June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
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A doctor collects a swab sample from a man being tested for COVID-19 outside a clinic in Shah Alam, Malaysia, December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
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Statues wearing masks at the Shibuya shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo, Japan April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato
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