Eerie playgrounds, social distancing in church, and permission forms to go outside: Photos by regular people show life under coronavirus lockdown around the world (Sophia Ankel,James Pasley)
A composite image of people's photos taken of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
A composite image of people's photos taken of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tim Welch / Rosie Jenkinson / Emma Snaith

  • The coronavirus is a pandemic that had infected some 250,000 at the time of writing, and killed 10,000.

  • It has changed life drastically even for those who have not got sick.

  • 14 people from around the world sent Insider pictures of the strangest ways the virus has affected their lives. 

  • The photos showed people dealing with the pandemic in little ways. Some are sad but many showing acts of kindness of humor in grim circumstances.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

More than 245,000 people have been infected and more than 10,000 people have died from the coronavirus.

Insider asked ordinary people from around the world to send in pictures to show what life is like during the pandemic. 

15 people sent in photos and spoke with Insider.

Their photos showed cordoned off playgrounds, social distancing through windows and on staircases, dinner left by the door for sick relatives, a taxi stocked with hand sanitizer, and kind notes offering help to those at risk.

Here is what they sent in. 

In Atlanta, Georgia, Tim Welch repurposed his cargo bike to carry around his kids without exposing them to anyone.

Children social distancing bucket bike
Children social distancing bucket bike

Tim Welch

Welch, an assistant professor, adapted his Madsen bucket bike.

The bike comes with a rain cover that's now being used to implement social distancing. 

He told Insider: "I take my kids to school everyday in the bike and use the cover for rainy days, or in this case for social distancing."

"We are trying to safely get out of the house a little for some fresh air, riding around on local streets that now have a lot less traffic," he said. 

"Luckily the kids are very resilient, they seem to be happy and somewhat unaware of what's happening other than chasing each other around the house shouting 'coronavirus is coming!'"


A darker sign from Paris, France, was a fight over fresh flowers as supplies dwindled.

paris flower shop
paris flower shop

Alexander Durie

As of March 20, France reported 9,058 cases of the coronavirus and 243 deaths

Alex Durie, a multimedia journalist who lives in Paris, told Insider about seeing people fight for the last flower bouquets at a florist near the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

"It was just about to close for an indefinite amount of time due to the coronavirus outbreak and was giving out all its remaining flowers for free," he wrote on Twitter.

In Bologna, Italy, this playground is empty and cordoned-off. Many children are staying at home.

playground bologna italy
playground bologna italy

Jessica Fraulo Ryder

Jessica Fraulo Ryder, a student in Bologna Italy, was running through a local park when she saw this playground.

"In the park, I only saw one woman wearing a mask walking with a child and a few old people sat on benches with masks on," she told Insider. 

"You're allowed to go running but now if you're caught running with someone you can get a fine of 150 euros because you have to stay apart from people.

"It's pretty lonely...I make my own list every night, of the 'things to do' the next day, or else, the hours become meaningless. I'm just longing for the day someone presses the play button again."

People in Italy also have to carry a self-certification form whenever they leave the house, explaining their reason for going outside.

Ross Elwood form
Ross Elwood form

Ross Elwood

This form belongs to Ross Elwood, an EU public affairs consultant living in Pisa.

He told Insider: "I keep it with me when I go out.

"There are reports in the papers everyday about how many have been stopped. The police can ask you for this form and if you don't have the correct reason to be outside you can be fined."

In Pisa, bus drivers are cordoned off from their passengers, sometimes resulting in a free bus ride.

Pisa bus cordoned off.
Pisa bus cordoned off.

Ross Elwood

Elwood took this photo in Pisa city center last week. 

"The buses have two doors. One at the front and one in the middle of the bus. They would only use the middle one so you wouldn't be near the driver. It sometimes meant you couldn't pay because the ticket machine on some of the buses is up by the driver," he said. 

In Rome, people are keeping positive by drinking their evening aperitif at a distance.

Italy aperitif coronavirus.
Italy aperitif coronavirus.

Gianluca Rossi

Gianluca Rossi, who lives in Pigneto, Rome, told Insider, "After the lockdown people started to feel more close to each other and more patriotic. Every day flashmobs are organized to sing all together. To make the people not feeling alone."

Last week, footage of people in Italy singing and dancing went viral on Twitter. 

In Rossi's neighborhood, Pignetto, spirits are kept up with an evening drink.

"In my neighborhood we organize aperitifs at a distance," he said. 


For Anshel Sag, from San Diego, California who has had symptoms of the virus and is self-isolating in his room, friends and family have been dropping off goodies at this door to keep him well.

san diego california coronavirus
san diego california coronavirus

Anshel Sag

Sag has had symptoms of high fever and coughing and thinks he has coronavirus is relying on his family and friends to get him through these difficult times.

"My mom and my sister are real clutch. They're the real MVPs," he tweeted alongside these pictures.

He told Insider that as soon as he started developing symptoms last Wednesday, he's been on lockdown in his room.

"My experience has been awful. My mom and sister have been my rock," he said.

"But the medical system has done nothing but give me the run-around. I tried three times last week to get tested and nobody would test me for one technicality or another," Sag added.

In Berlin, tourist destinations like the Berlin Cathedral were enforcing social distancing with ticks and crosses.

Social distancing Berlin cathedral
Social distancing Berlin cathedral

Rosie Jenkinson

A woman named Rosie Jenkinson visited Berlin earlier this month and said lots of places were closed.

On March 14, she went to the Berlin Cathedral. She sent Insider a photo of social distancing measures that were put in places.

Ticks and crosses showed people where they could and couldn't sit.

Despite the obvious impact of the coronavirus, she told Insider it was still busy. Germany's outbreak has got worse since.

In Seoul, South Korea, taxis and Ubers are providing hand sanitizer and drivers are wearing masks to stay protected.

Uber driver sanitizer Seoul
Uber driver sanitizer Seoul

Juweon Kim.

Juweon Kim, a restaurant owner and former journalist based in Seoul, told Insider there was no panic buying or hoarding but the economy had definitely been hit.  

The main visual difference, he said, was masks.

 "You'll see almost everyone being masked, from bank tellers, to grocery clerks to restaurant servers."

Taxi drivers were no exception. He said: "100% of cabbies are masked here. Some even have hand sanitizer for passengers to use."

He also said South Korea's network of online shopping had proven effective during quarantine.

"People don't really even have to leave their homes for grocery shopping, and if you have elderly parents who aren't so great with the internet and mobile apps, their kids or relatives simply order and have it delivered to their door. 

"I think that's been one of the keys to mitigating the spread and maintaining the social distancing aspect," he said. 

In Dublin, Ireland, as elderly people have been asked to stay at home, younger ones are lending a helping hand.

letters coronavirus dublin ireland
letters coronavirus dublin ireland

Claire Cunningham

Claire Cunningham has been trying to help her elderly neighbors.

After seeing empty supermarket shelves, she wrote them letters that included her phone number to let them know she can run any errands for them.

"I made sure to sanitize them and place them through the letterbox so there was no contact. Everyone I had sent a letter to, called me back the same day and said they could not have been more grateful. Although many had sufficient food at the time, they were relieved to have someone to fall back on as that was a huge worry living alone," she told Insider.

"Most just took the opportunity to chat, told of their fears and remarked about what an extraordinary time we are living in."

A woman did the same for her neighbors in Düsseldorf, Germany. "Whatever it takes," she wrote.

Coronavirus letter german.
Coronavirus letter german.

Bettina Ross

Bettina Ross told Insider she put a note in a number of elderly neighbors' letterboxes along her road in Dusseldorf. 

Her letter said: "Dear Neighbors, If you need help in the coming weeks or months (or if you know someone who does) because you are ill or want to avoid meeting too many people, we will be happy to go shopping for you, collect your prescriptions, bring you a hot soup or buy drinks. Whatever it takes ... please don't hesitate to give us a ring."

She said people were grateful for the letters. 

"One neighbor found me in the street, in tears, because she was so touched. Two other neighbors called me and thanked me," she said. 

Another neighbor was relieved since she had been relying on her son who is a doctor in Dusseldorf.

"He has stopped by in between shifts to do her shopping so she wouldn't have to go out. I will take over from him," she said. 

In Wales, one family is taking social distancing with the elderly seriously.

south wales lockdown grandparents
south wales lockdown grandparents

Awen Gravell

In the UK, old people over 70 were asked to stay in strict isolation at home or in care homes for up to 4 months as the government tackles the virus.

So while many families aren't able to see their parents or grandparents, they are still doing their best to catch up with them.

In Llanelli, South Wales, Awen Gravell visits her grandparents every day and waves through the windows.

"This picture is of my grandmother, who is also self-isolating, who we went to visit through the window yesterday afternoon. I'm currently working from home, so I am able to visit them and see them from afar throughout the day," she told Insider.

Meanwhile, she does the shopping for them and a few other families who are self-isolating in the area.

"Thankfully we all live quite close to each other so it's quite easy to just pop over and wave through the window!" she added.

Another family is doing the same in a small town outside of Frankfurt, Germany. Grandmother and granddaughter are maintaining a staircase between them at all times.

Frankfurt grandmother social distancing.
Frankfurt grandmother social distancing.

Rebecca Muller

In Rodenbach, a town of about 12,000 outside Frankfurt, 26-year-old Rebecca Muller is maintaining social distance from her grandmother who lives in the flat above her and her parents.

She told Insider they were not taking any risks.

"I have not had contact with my grandma in two weeks, as she had some health issues in January and tries to stay as far away from us as possible. We only communicate on our stairs, keeping as much distance between us, as we can," she said. 

She also said other people in her town didn't look like they were taking it seriously.

"They have not understood the situation we are currently in. I see the elderly people taking their car to who knows where and inviting neighbors to come in."


A grim, but funny sight in London was this mattress, asking "Be my quarantine?" lying on a street.

deptford london mattress coronavirus
deptford london mattress coronavirus

Emma Snaith

This image was taken by Emma Snaith, a 26-year-old journalist in London who was trying to find some potatoes for dinner. After searching three supermarkets, she came across this mattress on the street.

"It really brightened my evening up even though I had just heard that London could be going on lockdown soon," she told Insider.

While a closed cinema in Brooklyn, New York, shows the effect on small businesses.

Nitehawk cinema coronavirus.
Nitehawk cinema coronavirus.

Nicholas Carlson

Nitehawk Cinema, a local cinema at two locations in Brooklyn, New York, shut its doors earlier this week.

This photo was taken by Insider's Editor-in-Chief, Nich Carlson.

The cinema had no choice. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses, including cinemas, to close on March 16.

Across the US, more than 40,000 screens have gone dark, according to the New York Post.

On Nitehawk's marquee it said, "See you on the other side."

Read the original article on Insider