Dramatic images show how Shanghai has turned into a 'ghost town' amid coronavirus outbreak

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Shanghai in the wake of the widespread outbreak of coronavirus (Molly Holt)

Dramatic images show how Shanghai - one of the biggest cities in the world - is now a “ghost town” amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

Brit Molly Holt today told Yahoo News UK how she started her east Asian travelling holiday in the Chinese city three weeks ago, before the widespread outbreak of the deadly disease.

Ms Holt returned to Shanghai for the final week of her holiday, only to find the city’s famous hustle and bustle has completely disappeared.

Meanwhile, “everywhere smells like disinfectant,” she said.

An empty shopping mall (Molly Holt)
An empty underground train (Molly Holt)

As of Sunday, coronavirus had claimed 81 lives in China after it spread from Wuhan. There are nearly 3,000 confirmed cases worldwide with nearly 6,000 suspected cases.

It prompted the Shanghai government to stop a majority of businesses operating until February 10.

Ahead of her flight home, Ms Holt said: “We started off in Shanghai, moving to Tokyo and Hong Kong [where a city-wide emergency has now been declared], before returning to Shanghai for the last week. Everywhere we went, the virus travelled with us.

A deserted Shanghai street (Molly Holt)
Shanghai: 'It's an absolute ghost town' (Molly Holt)

“Shanghai is a very different place compared to three weeks ago.

“Everywhere we go is closed. Nobody is on the underground. Shanghai has lots of shopping malls, and though all the shops were open, there was no one there. The workers were there, but no visitors to the shops.”

Of the atmosphere in the city, which has an estimated population of 24 million people, Ms Holt continued: “There is definitely fear.

“Everyone is wearing the masks. Lots of people would wear them anyway [due to air pollution], but now every single person is wearing one. The authorities are disinfecting everything - everywhere smells like disinfectant.

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“The change in three weeks has been very dramatic. It’s an absolute ghost town.”

Meanwhile, more than 50 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK - but all cases have been negative.

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