Beijing streets empty & stores shuttered, video by American residing in China shows


Kayla Wong | February 05, 2020, 01:37 PM

A video shot by an American YouTuber living in China's capital, Beijing, shows empty roads and streets in a once-bustling city.

Empty roads

Outside his apartment complex, the YouTuber, known as Chris, noted that the building management had put up a notice saying non-residents are only allowed into the compound after they register themselves.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

Chris, who has been living in China for the past eight years, also pointed out a sight that he found "crazy".

Although a 800 metre-road he takes to work every day is usually so congested that it takes 30 minutes just to make a turn, the road is now empty save for a bus and a motorcycle.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

He then came upon another road that he said was usually so busy people go to the bridge above it to take pictures of how many cars there are.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

Chris also went to a street that people took if they wanted a shortcut to the shopping mall.

The street was closed, and a notice told people they had to take their temperature first before taking another street on the side to enter the area.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

Shops closed

Chris also went to a Starbucks that was usually packed with people, but was now relatively empty.

While the store remained open, the front entrance was closed.

Customers were told to enter using a side door, but only after they have taken the necessary precautions, such as taking their temperature, wearing a mask and disinfecting their hands.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

He also went to a shopping district that was usually packed with shoppers, but was now empty except for a few people.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

The surreal sight made the place seem like a "ghost town" to him.

Plenty of stores were closed too.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

Packed supermarket

The supermarket where he went for his friend's "supply run", however, was packed full of people with probably the same intentions too.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

He also noted that the prices of the produce being sold are not much different from regular prices.

Screengrab via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube

The pair, however, went to another supermarket that sells relatively more expensive imported western products as it was a lot less crowded.

Store selling masks at hiked-up prices

Chris also came across a store that he said was one of the few places he had seen that was still selling masks.

However, he noted that the price was jacked up to 70 RMB (S$13.80) from 20 RMB (S$3.94) for just one mask.

"Not a numbers game"

Towards the end of the video, Chris said he would be going back to the United States on the last United Airlines flight out of Beijing to Washington D.C.

Besides giving a shout-out to all the medical professionals working on the front line to treat patients, he also reminded his audience that this is "not a numbers game", and that the people who were sick from the virus or died had families and their own stories too.

You can watch his video here:

Top image adapted via 口语老炮儿马思瑞Chris/YouTube