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Coronavirus: Before, after images show impact of COVID-19 on the world’s top tourist spots

With countries issuing travel advisories, airlines cancelling flights and popular tourist destinations being put on high alert amid COVID-19 concerns, it comes as no surprise that people are avoiding crowds, airports and travel in general.

COVID-19 has infected more than 110,000 people on a global scale, with 500 reported cases in the United States and 44 confirmed cases in Canada.

READ MORE: B.C.’s tourism industry braces for hit amid mounting COVID-19 fears

Maxar Technologies recently came out with satellite imagery to show how the virus has dramatically impacted global travel patterns for tourist attractions that are accustomed to heavy foot traffic on a regular basis.

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Here’s a before and after look at some of the world’s most populous spaces:

Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

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The Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca hosts almost four million pilgrims every year, and is considered to be the most holy site for Muslims across the globe.

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The Umrah pilgrimage has been suspended by Saudi officials, in order to prevent the virus from spreading in an area where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all around the world come together year-round.

Saudi Arabia closed off air and sea travel to nine countries affected by the new coronavirus on March 9 as stock markets in the Mideast fell over fears about the widening outbreak’s effect on the global economy.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Saudi Arabia imposes travel restrictions as death toll rises in Iran

Hazrat Masumeh Shrine in Qom, Iran
In the Middle East, there have been over 7,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the vast majority of them in hard-hit Iran. The country’s health ministry said the new coronavirus has killed another 43 people, pushing the death toll to 237 amid 7,161 confirmed cases.Some experts worry Iran may be underreporting its cases.
Space Mountain, Disneyland Tokyo, Urayasu, Japan
Japan’s version of the happiest place on earth was left empty on March 1, as can be seen in the first shot of the popular Space Mountain ride.  Authorities have closed Tokyo Disneyland until March 15 in attempts to stop the virus from spreading throughout the region.
Japan has seen more than 1,000 cases of the virus, with about 700 of them coming from the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo last month. 14 people have died from the disease in the country.
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Piazzo del Duomo, Milan, Italy

One of Italy’s top tourist attractions in its fashion capital recently saw a huge decrease in foot traffic.

Milan’s Piazzo del Duomo sees upwards of five million visitors each year. In the second photo that was taken on March 4 after the outbreak, barely any people can be seen.

Schools across Italy, meanwhile, have been shut down until March 15. The country has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe, with over 5,000 people infected and 233 dead.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
One of China’s most historic landmarks, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the square been left empty. Workers in Beijing returned to their offices on March 9, after the government extended January’s Lunar New Year holiday in the wake of the virus. Virtually no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in recent days in the city, with cases decreasing in mainland China where almost 58,600 people have recovered from the disease.

READ MORE: Workers in China cautiously return to the office as new cases of coronavirus fall

— With files from Jon Gambrell, and the Associated Press