Picture of community cat on deserted streets of locked down Istanbul

During Turkey’s coronavirus lockdown the streets of Istanbul have been abandoned to their famed community cats. This excellent photograph encapsulates the strange end-of-world appearance of what should be bustling bazaars and sheathing shopping malls. But nada, zilch. It reminds me of central London and a photo I took of Westminster Bridge a short while ago. It was a classic scene from one of those armaggedon movies when mankind is wiped out by a fictional bug. It’s almost come true.

Cat all alone on Istanbul's deserted streets

Cat all alone on Istanbul’s deserted streets. Photo: EPA.

The big worry for someone like me is that the community cats of Turkey are looked after by the community of shopkeepers. If they are no longer there will the cats be looked after? Will they be fed scraps of food from the deli counter? I think lockdowns are going on too long and are too damaging to both the economies of countries and the health of their citizens in ways other than the coronavirus. There is a concern too for our companion animals as more information gradually leaks out of the news media that domestic cats and dogs can get the disease. Thankfully at the moment there is no evidence that they spread the disease to people. It is the opposite.

This pandemic is likely to change the world for good. Certain aspects of our lives will change. For example there will be less airline travel and more online conferencing as currently provided by a business called Zoom. For years the hospitality sector will be in the doldrums. Many businesses will go bust. Hard faught declines in unemployment have gone into reverse and the numbers will stay permanently elevated. It is a disaster for politicians, especially Trump. He has built his re-election around economic success.

Central London during pandemic lockdown

Houses of Parliament during coronavirus lockdown

This is the season for tourists to come to central London. The weather is great. But the London Eye was deserted as was the whole of the South Bank. These are tourists’ hot spots. Westminster and the bridge were empty of human activity. All the tourist attractions were closed and going bust. It is a horror story from a commercial, money-making standpoint. If you like the quiet and the peace and the clean air you’re happy provided you have some money in the bank to tide you over.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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