SA’s lockdown from space: satellite photos show near-abandoned highways and airports

Business Insider SA
Source PlanetLabs.
O.R, Thambo before and after lockdown in South Africa. Source PlanetLabs.
  • From OR Tambo airport to the streets of Cape Town, satellite images show the impact of South Africa's national Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Once busy highways are eerily quiet, and even Durban harbour is nearly deserted. 
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From OR Tambo International airport to Cape Town, satellite images show just how much South Africa has changed under a national Covid-19 lockdown.

Using Planet Labs satellite imagery, Business insider South Africa examined some of the busiest places in SA, now mostly dormant under the 21-day national hunkering down,

While South Africans are still getting used to the idea of life in lockdown, similar measures elsewhere have resulted in a decrease in emissions and air pollution in countries like China, and reports of wildlife returning to urban spaces in several countries.

From space you can see South Africa’s empty airports, vacant streets, and harbours

Once busy highways in Johannesburg are now empty: 

The Buccleuch Interchange which connects Fourways and Midrand to Johannesburg is empty. 

As is Gillooly's Interchange, another notorious traffic congestion spot in Bedfordview.   

Cape Town's Foreshore is likewise devoid of traffic... 

...and so is Cape Town International Airport.

Durban's harbour, KwaZulu-Natal. 

According to data on MyShipTracking, the Port of Durban has only vessel in port

By creating a time-lapse we can see the port stacking huge quantities of containers. 

Most striking of all is OR Tambo International Airport. 

South Africa's largest airport, at its full movement capacity can move 53 aircraft per hour.

Both terminals are vacant and dozens of smaller planes have been moved to warehouses. 

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