China's biggest cities looked like ghost towns on the first day back to work after Lunar New Year, as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread
- Today is the first day back at work for many people after an extended Lunar New Year holiday in China.
- Authorities extended the holiday period, which was initially set to end January 30, in an attempt to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, according to the South China Morning Post.
- Despite it being the first official work day, photos show deserted carriages on trains and empty streets in some of China's biggest cities including Shanghai and Shenzhen.
- Many companies such as Alibaba and gaming company Tencent Holdings have advised people to continue to stay at home, according to The Financial Times.
- The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, and has killed more than 900 people and infected over 40,000.
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Monday is the first official day back to work for many people in China after the New Year holidays were extended by authorities amid the coronavirus outbreak, but many of China's biggest cities resembled ghost towns, photos shared to social media suggest.
The Lunar New Year holidays were originally set to run from January 24 to January 30, but authorities decided to extend the holidays in attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus in workplaces and public places, according to the South China Morning Post.
Some provinces extended the holidays for three days until February 3, however at least 24 out of 31 of China's provinces including Beijing and Shanghai advised businesses not to reopen until February 10, the SCMP said.
Even with most provinces officially back to work Monday, it didn't seem like many people were working in the country's biggest cities, social media photos showed.
David Kirton, the South China correspondent for Reuters posted a photo from Monday of his morning commute on the metro in Shenzhen, a city of 23 million people in China's southeast.
The carriage appears to be noticeably empty despite it being "rush hour," according to Kirton.
Simon Rabinovitch, a journalist at The Economist based in Shanghai, a city with a population of over 26 million people, reported similar scenes.
On what Rabinovitch says would have usually been "packed" subway during his morning commute there appears to be only five people in the carriage and plenty of empty seats.
A second photograph shows an attendant registering migrant workers who have returned to Shanghai to work.
According to Rabinovitch, the attendant was on the lookout for "anyone lugging a big bag" as an identifier that they may need to register, but had so far only seen "a few."
The photo below shows Huaihai Middle Road, a usually busy road, at midday. It is nearly deserted.
Rabinovitch said in the tweet a number of cars came by after the photo was taken. "It's not totally dead. But it is still a long way from normality."
Despite the official end of the Lunar New Year holidays, many companies continue to advise their employees to stay at home.
Hubei province, where the virus first broke out, will keep schools closed until March 1, according to Reuters which cited the People's Daily newspaper.
The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan has killed more than 900 people and infected over 40,000. The virus has spread to every province and region in China, as well at least 26 other countries.
Booths are set up for all those returning to Shanghai (ie, migrant workers) to register. Attendant tells me he is looking for anyone lugging a big bag but has so far only seen a few. (3/) pic.twitter.com/iJHEU6Y1gX- Simon Rabinovitch (@S_Rabinovitch) February 10, 2020
One final shot to leave you with: Huaihai Middle Road, a central artery, at midday. A few seconds after I took this, a number of cars came by. So it's not totally dead. But it is still a long way away from normality. (9/9) pic.twitter.com/E2NCzI78Kc- Simon Rabinovitch (@S_Rabinovitch) February 10, 2020
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