[ COVID PICTURE STORY ] A multiple-picture story, essay, sequence or series based on daily coverage of general news or breaking news related to COVID-19. Each submission consists of 5 to 10 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 5 submissions. The images must be taken in 2019 or 2020.

Judges for Covid Picture Story
Abir Abdullah
Nariman El Mofty
Bryan van der Beek
Shiho Fukada
Wonsuk Choi
Our Proud Sponsors

First Place

Drama of Block 65

Karim Mottaghi
Mamaat Art Collective
Iran

Sanctions, domestic and foreign political tensions have made the Iranian government less focused on controlling the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the failure to take timely preventive measures by the responsible institutions and organizations, the prevalence of ‘Coronavirus’ became more serious in Iran, since March. Coronavirus continuously takes victims in all provinces and cities of the country. Dealing with the funeral and burial rites of the victims of this event varies according to the common traditions and cultures in each region. In the common culture of Azarbaijan province, people pay more attention to the performance of funeral and burial rites and participate in it extensively. Given the risk of a rapid outbreak of the Coronavirus, the burial rites of the victims, unlike this common culture, are performed even without the presence of victims’ relatives or usually with the presence of a small number of them. The funeral of the victims of the ‘Coronavirus’ is very unaccompanied and dramatic. I closely observed the stages of bathing, shrouding, funeral and burial rites, also participated in it directly and photographed – or worked with the cemetery staff – there for at least 48 days, from April 7 to December 24, 2020. However, for various reasons, when photography was not possible, I made video images. In Vadi-Rahmat Cemetery, the largest cemetery in north-western Iran, no specific section has been set aside for the burial of the victims of the ‘Coronavirus’, and families are free to determine the location of the burial. ‘Block 65’ is busier than other parts of the cemetery, and most of the victims are buried there. Because the most ‘Coronavirus’ victims are from the low-income and middle classes, the ‘Block 65’ of the cemetery is becoming more and more crowded and expanded. ‘Block 65’ is farther and cheaper than other parts of the cemetery, and the most dramatic part of Corona’s story takes place there.

Second Place

The Exhausted Holocaust

SL Shanth Kumar
The Times of India
India

Thousands of migrant workers walk along eastern express highway in the outskirts of Mumbai City in hope of reaching back to their home villages. Workers were stopped at police checkpoints and send back to city but most of them who became homeless in city by then decided to stay back on the highway sleeping on roadside. As the lockdown restrictions in India gets relaxed gradually, many migrant labourers who lost their jobs attempted to go home. Some were successful in getting a ticket aboard special trains while many had no money to pay for the ticket. Millions of people then decided to make the journey home, some as far as 2000kms, by foot. Photojournalist documents their journey as they make their first pit stop some 200kms outside the city.

Third Place

Time To Be Together

Alexey Pavlov
Independent
Russia

Many of us felt lonely when we suddenly found ourselves in a world dictated by new rules of ethics — refraining from hugging, kissing, and even shaking hands. I’ve been hearing news of couples breaking up all the time since the start of the pandemic. Among my friends and acquaintances, many have ended relationships with their partners. Distance, or, conversely, forced closeness makes relationships during a pandemic a real test that not everyone is able to pass. In the midst of this madness, I met Polina on the Web, writing a couple of silly compliments to her work. For a while, we had to communicate only online, and when the situation around calmed down a bit, we met and decided that we needed to stay together.

Award of Excellence

The Final Days of the Lockdown in Wuhan

Roman Pilipey
EPA
Ukraine/China

On January 23, 2020, Wuhan, the Covid-19 pandemic’s ground zero and a Chinese city of more than 11 million had been sealed off from the rest of the world in an attempt to limit the coronavirus outbreak’s spread. Planes and trains leaving the metropolis were canceled, highway entrances were shut down, people couldn’t get in or out. Within Wuhan, public transport was suspended. In humans history, such a big lockdown had never been attempted. The beginning of lifting the lockdown began on March 28 when the city was partly re-opened only allowing people to enter the city. And on April 8, after 76 days Wuhan ended its strict lockdown giving a huge relief to all citizens. At that time according to China’s officials over 2500 people died from COVID-19 in Wuhan, and more than 50,000 coronavirus cases were recorded. Later the city’s death toll was raised by 50 percent, although the number was still much disputed among experts and world leaders. When Wuhan, was reopening to the outside world the novel coronavirus outbreak has been already declared as a global pandemic by The World Health Organization (WHO), with over a million infections and thousands of deaths worldwide at that time.