Coronavirus: First the streets were packed and now they are empty
The Correspondent asked freelance photographer and FCC member May James to look at how coronavirus is changing Hong Kong. After months working on the front line of the city’s protests, she found a very different picture
‘This small, lively city is packed with 6,700 people per square kilometre – that’s an average of 160 square feet, or roughly a New York City parking space, per person. Which means social distancing is not an easy task. During last year’s protests I was safe to be with my loved ones after a good shower, and cuddling my kids was my soul food to combat the tension. Now, with this epidemic, I can’t take any chances of my asthmatic child getting infected. So I’ve sent them away. It’s the only safe way I can continue to work.’ – May James
‘Coronavirus saved my life’
May James had an extraordinary encounter with ‘Ms. C’ while researching this project.
Ms. C had suffered with depression since November last year. From being a happy, chatty lady who loved to cook and eat, she lost her focus and found food repellent. She thought the only way out would be to jump off her building. Then, as the coronavirus crisis grew, the government announced schools must shut and civil servants work from home. Ms. C’s two children and her husband all had to stay home and offered her “limitless encouragement and support”. She was reconnecting with her family and friends when the shortage of protective masks hit Hong Kong. So Ms. C. started making them by hand. “It took me two hours on each one from start to finish, but I felt I was saving someone’s life,” she says. “My life is now filled with love and purpose.”