Coronavirus: UAE's KhalifaSat captures deserted Italian streets from space

The Emirati-made satellite shows how Milan came to a standstill during the pandemic

An image of the Duomo di Milano from space. Courtesy MBRSC
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Once bustling streets laying empty has become one of the foremost sights during the coronavirus pandemic.

Images taken from long-lens cameras and smartphones have captured the scenes from ground level, while drones have provided an alternative angle of the landscape.

But the eerie void has also been captured from space thanks to the UAE's entirely Emirati-made satellite, KhalifaSat.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has released new images showing the situation in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe.

The images zoom in on Duomo di Milano and its surrounding neighbourhood in Milan during the period of lockdown.

The maze of empty streets can clearly been seen from the time when authorities enforced measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Italy beat the curve of the outbreak in April after a nationwide lockdown was imposed in March. However, it has reported more than 220,000 cases to date, with more than 30,000 deaths and 109,000 recoveries.

Milan from space as taken by KhalifaSat. Courtesy MBRSC
Milan from space as taken by KhalifaSat. Courtesy MBRSC

Authorities registered 172 deaths in infected patients in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday evening. Nearly half of the total deaths have occurred in Lombardy, where the country’s outbreak began in late February.

Health officials are awaiting daily case numbers later in the week to determine if a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions on May 4 caused a rise in contagion rates.

KhalifaSat was fully developed at MBRSC facilities by Emirati engineers and was launched to space in October 2018.

Pictures from the satellite help governments and private companies across the globe tackle a range of challenges, from climate change and disaster relief to urban planning.


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