For the past two weeks, considering that the lockdown limitations began, BBC news speaker Sophie Raworth has actually been running to work at lunchtime to present the BBC News at 6 and 10, taking images as she passes some widely known landmarks. Here she describes what it resembles to commute through the now deserted streets of the capital.
The silence in the centre of London is eerie now. I have lived in this city for the majority of my life and I’m used to dodging crowds on the streets, being crammed into tube trains, shoulder to take on with my fellow commuters.
I have actually always enjoyed the buzz of London, the cacophony of voices from all over the world, and now all of a sudden it has all gone.
Our newsroom is in the centre of London, by Oxford Circus, Europe’s busiest shopping street with nearly half a million visitors a day. Now there are more pigeons than people. They should be wondering where we’ve all gone.
I live about six miles from the BBC. Over the previous fortnight, I’ve been zigzagging my way along different streets into the capital, now in its shutdown state. And it is quite remarkable. Once in awhile I simply stop, take a look around me and listen.
It’s the silence that is so unnerving. A stillness that I have never ever felt in London before. The other day I stood in Leicester Square and gasped aloud. Nothing was moving around me.
The heart of London and all I might hear was a flag flapping on top of one of the shut-down movie theaters.
Around the corner, China Town was ablaze with colour, however all the restaurants have closed their doors, the continuous lines of individuals have actually gone.
Even Piccadilly Circus, busyness personified, is not itself anymore. The lights are still on but who’s looking? Giant adverts have been changed by homages to NHS workers and the emergency situation services.
Waterloo, Paddington, St Pancras – some of London’s busiest primary train stations – through which countless people put every day. Now there are simply a few passengers milling around looking a little lost, and railway personnel, in their fluorescent jackets eyeing me quizzically, then smiling and waving as I run past.
Regent Street, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge – individuals flock to London for its shops. And now unless they’re selling essential products, their doors are closed.
Harrods, shut until more notification for the very first time in 170 years, has actually swapped the attractive mannequins in its window shows for huge murals of NHS rainbows rather.
Covent Garden is typically so dynamic with travelers and buyers that I wouldn’t attempt to run through it. Now I can hear my footsteps echo as I pass the shuttered stores. I have the marketplace all to myself.
I ran down The Shopping mall this week. In 3 weeks’ time I need to have been running along with tens of countless tired people about to cross the finish line of the 40 th London Marathon.
Rather the ExCel conference centre in east London, where we were expected to pick up our race numbers, is now full of healthcare facility beds for countless coronavirus clients.
And I’m going to work through the streets of London alone – because I’m no longer enabled to run with anyone else.
It is the stillness of this city that I discover most odd. I can hear bird tune and individuals’s conversations from numerous feet away. The noise of an airplane now takes me by surprise. London seems like an abandoned movie set.