Germany’s Big Brother contestants to be told about coronavirus pandemic on live TV

Germany's Big Brother contestants to be told about coronavirus pandemic on live TV
The Big Brother contestants. Photo: -/die pressetanten/Sat.1/DPA
While people across the world have been dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a group of reality TV contestants in Cologne have been left in the dark.

But the stars of Big Brother Germany are to be told about the growing worldwide crisis in a live TV special set to be aired on Tuesday.

The majority of the residents, who entered the house over a month ago, have no idea about what's going on outside the house they are living in.

When the show began airing on February 10th, the first cases of coronavirus outside Wuhan in China were just being reported on.

In Germany, only isolated cases in Bavaria were known.

READ ALSO: What's the latest on coronavirus in Germany and what do I need to know?

The situation has escalated into a global pandemic since then, with Europe currently at the epicentre. As of Tuesday afternoon, Germany had more than 7,900 recorded confirmed cases and 20 deaths.

The country's 57,000 daycare centers (Kitas) are closed, as are the 43,000 schools. Events have been cancelled, religious services are banned and people have been urged not to travel.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German government has also ordered a partial shutdown of public life, with non-essential shops and playgrounds closing, plus restricted restaurant opening hours.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus restrictions: What's closed (and what's open) in Germany?

The contestants, most of whom are in their 20s and 30s, are staying in a glass house and adjacent log cabin-style home in Cologne, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The state is Germany's worst affected area, with more than 3,000 of the nation's nearly 8,000 coronavirus cases.

Housemates to be told

According to a recent report by German daily the Süddeutsche Zeitung, broadcaster Sat.1 defended its actions and said the 14 Big Brother residents were only informed of news in certain circumstances, such as if a relative or loved one is ill or has died.

Sat.1 added that it had put strict rules in place to protect the residents from infection such as “special hygiene measures”.

Four new contestants joined the show in early March but they were told not to talk about the coronavirus outbreak.

However, after an uproar on social media, TV channel bosses updated the rules. The decision had been made “in agreement with contestants' families”, the channel said.

'Hope they don't panic'

On the show's Facebook page, comments poured in about the decision to finally enlighten the residents, reported AFP.

“About time, these people have family members out there who could be at risk,” said one user.

“Hope they don't panic!” wrote another, while several called for the rest of the season to be cancelled.

On Tuesday night, the contestants of the show were to be told in a live TV special which will air at 7pm on Sat.1.

The show's host Jochen Schropp and the show's resident doctor will carry out the duty of informing the housemates about the growing pandemic.

The housemates will then get a chance to ask questions and see video messages from relatives.

The question of whether Big Brother housemates should be told about outside news has been raised in recent months, and in the past.

Big Brother Australia's contestants were told about the extent of the coronavirus crisis, while housemates on the Canadian Big Brother were also recently told.

In the US in 2001, Big Brother contestants were told about the 9/11 attacks.


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