A pigeon perched on a lamp post peers down on an empty sidewalk which normally bustles with street hawkers selling second hand records, trinkets, used tools, books and portraits of former king Rama IX, April 19, 2020. Photo: Paul Lakatos

Bangkok, the City of Angels, is in hiding under a month-old coronavirus lockdown.

With 10pm-4am curfews, a ban on the sale of alcohol and stay-at-home restrictions in place, the city famous for its go-go nightlife has been forced to turn in early.

One mass transit skytrain rider snoozes at a safe social distance.

With a population estimated at anywhere between 8-12 million, the main arterial road junction at the city’s iconic Victory Monument would usually be jammed with traffic.

Yet now on any given day it hosts a single, empty taxi or a couple of motorcycle couriers delivering takeaway food to nearby homes.

A normally teeming elevated pedestrian walkway now hosts empty advertising boxes in the absence of foot traffic, while a lone Buddhist monk walks past shuttered shop fronts beneath.

Local hospital staff offer Covid-19 assistance at the entrance of an intensive care unit, happily posing for photographs. Outside a surgical glove lies discarded on the empty pavement.

Popular sacred tourist sites like the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are closed, though devotees still light candles from the outside.

A lone masked man pushes his cart under an overpass on a Covid-19 darkened lane.

In a vacant parking lot along Sanam Chai road, Thais form a long line for bags of free green mangos provided by a motorcycle charity organization offering relief to hungry citizens.

In another neighborhood, free food packs are distributed to Covid-19 impacted needy Thais.

In Chinatown, giant Buddha statues overlook a row of shuttered shops as a surgical masked man strolls by. Nearby, Buddha images glimmer and shine amid the Covid-19 doom and gloom.

Words and pictures by former Asia Times photo editor Paul Lakatos

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