Locals in face masks as they walk in a park in Hangzhou, China. This photo was taken in 2018, a year before Covid-19 hit the country. Image: As the coronavirus outbreak shutters gyms, malls and swimming pools, residents from Los Angeles to Bangkok are heading to parks and open spaces during lockdowns, highlighting their vital role in protecting health and wellbeing, urban experts said. More than 377,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 16,500 have died, according to a Reuters tally. With strict lockdown measures in hundreds of cities across the world, residents are often still allowed to go outside to run, walk or cycle once a day, as long as they practise social distancing, or keep two metres (6.5 ft) from each other. The measures show how crucial open spaces are in cities, said Diane Archer, a research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Bangkok, where she often runs in a neighbourhood park. “We know the important role that green spaces and trees can play in shade and cooling, reducing flood risk and maintaining biodiversity,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday. “But these spaces are important for relaxation and […]

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