A World in Upheaval Seeks Protection From Coronavirus

From Mongolia to Mexico, hand sanitizers and face masks have become the new normal as the world battles the coronavirus. These photos illustrate how people across the globe are taking steps to keep themselves — and others — healthy.

View Team
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Dalanzadgad, Umnugovi Province, Mongolia

A sanitizing solution rains onto the street below as Tegshjargal Baatarchuluun sprays disinfectant from a truck in Dalanzadgad, the capital of Mongolia’s Umnugovi province. A staff of 58 people, led by the Dalanzadgad mayor’s office, carried out the decontamination of roads, bicycle paths and other public areas in Dalanzadgad from March 27-30.

Tegshjargal, a veterinarian, says his experience working with veterinary disinfectants and chemicals made him a good fit to help with the job.

“Since I am used to working with disinfectants, I am collaborating with them in this field,” he says. “I worked on producing chemical compounds of disinfectants based on the required ingredients and standards.”

Mongolia, which has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of April 11, was one of the first countries to secure borders and close schools.

Uranchimeg Tsoghuu, GPJ Mongolia

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Kampala, Uganda

Hasfa Namirembe scrubs her hands at Bright Junior Primary School in Kampala. Before the government closed schools nationwide on March 20, teachers regularly lined students up to wash their hands.

“We continually sensitize children on the coronavirus and make water and soap available for them whenever they are out of class so that they can wash their hands thoroughly as many times as possible,” says Shamim Nabatanzi, a teacher at the school.

Uganda has closed schools until at least April 20 and restricted weddings, religious gatherings and international travel. The country has confirmed 53 cases of the coronavirus as of April 11.

Apophia Agiresaasi, GPJ Uganda

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San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

Paz Vergara, a seamstress with Maya Kotan Textiles, cuts fabric into strips, which she will use to make filtered masks to sell in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. The social enterprise, staffed by more than 25 women, usually sells textiles but is now focused on making masks to generate income while their store is closed due to the coronavirus.

The masks were originally made with an interchangeable filter, but the collective later switched to a washable filter design after members came across photos of beaches littered with disposable filters.

Leticia Jarquín Estrada, deputy director of epidemiology for the Chiapas Ministry of Health, says washable masks are preferable.

“If healthy people are going to wear face masks, the recommendation is that they wash it because it can become a means of cultivation,” says Jarquín Estrada. “It should be used a maximum of three or four hours, and then be washed.”

The collective is working to fill a recent influx of orders but is also looking to donate as many masks as possible to local health care providers.

Officials in Mexico have issued a nationwide stay-at-home order and the suspension of all nonessential activities until April 30. Mexico has reported 3,844 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of April 11, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. A total of 233 people have died.

Marissa Revilla, GPJ Mexico

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Kampala, Uganda

Masereka Gashom sprays hand sanitizer on the hands of passengers as they enter the Kisenyi bus terminal in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, on March 19.

Uganda has banned the use of both private and public transportation for nonessential travel and has heavily restricted public gatherings.

Before the ban on transportation was enacted, bus operators saw an uptick in people relocating to more remote villages.

“People believe the virus is less in the village because there are fewer people in villages,” says Enock Kalyesubura, a driver for Bismarkan Coaches.

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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