Germany’s Big Brother contestants have been kept in the dark about the affects of the coronavirus outbreak since they entered the house on February 6.
But the blissful ignorance of the reality TV show stars will be shattered on Tuesday night.
Presenter Jochen Schropp and the Big Brother doctor Andreas Kaniewski will break the news to the remaining 13 contestants in a special live episode.
Broadcaster Sat.1 said contestants will be able to receive video messages from their relatives and will be able to ask questions.
The German Big Brother house is in the western city of Cologne, which is particularly hard hit by the virus. Germany and surrounding nations have undertaken extraordinary measures, including closing borders, and shutting down public life, to try and contain the spread of COVID-19.
As they were being sealed in the house, news on the outbreak was slow, with just a couple of confirmed cases in Bavaria. The contestants likely didn’t realise the scale of the pandemic.
Making tinned food appetizing may take some kitchen wizardry, but it’s certainly not impossible. Why not up the ante when it comes to cuisine and also boost your body’s defenses at the same time? You may be inspired to experiment with a sinus-clearing home made laksa, or whip together a tuna poke bowl with tinned sweetcorn and fresh ginger to give your immune system an extra boost.
There’s plenty that you can do to keep your body in fighting shape if you can’t head to the gym. You can get your blood pumping with work-out or yoga tutorials online, or if you’re looking to step things up a little, those tins of food now lining your pantry can make for great free weights.
You could take the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and channel your excess energy into getting every corner of your home sparkling. It’s also never been a better time to ‘Marie Kondo’ your life and clear out all that excess clutter. You might even free up some extra storage space for the year’s supply of toilet paper now sitting in your bathroom.
One club in Shanghai streamed DJ sets on TikTok so that viewers could participate in “cloud raves” from home. If you’re disappointed about cancelled concerts or heated live debates and want to feel like you’re not missing out, keep an eye out for live-streamed events on social media.
Binge-watching the latest TV shows is a guaranteed way to get your mind off things. Perhaps the mini-series “Chernobyl” may put things in perspective if you’re only feeling the doom and gloom perpetuated by the news. Alternatively, if you’re after something lighter as a pick-me-up, you can just spend 6 hours and 20 minutes a day watching “Friends” to finish all 236 episodes in 14 days.
All this free time may give you the chance to blow the dust off some old board games and challenge your quarantine comrades to a round. It’ll help fend off boredom and lift your spirits while you wait things out. If you’re quarantined solo, most classic games have mobile app versions on which you can play against friends online.
Still not having fun? This suggestion is sure to change that. By the time we’re all back at work and have caught up with the backlog, tax time will be upon us again before we expect. Take the time to get your ducks in a row to save yourself the stress later on, but feel free to take a rest if it’s all too exciting.
These days, you can learn almost anything online. If you’ve been thinking about learning to code, or perhaps even picking up a language like German (hint hint), online providers have made it easy and often free, so there’s no excuse not to put your free time to good use.
If your relatives complain about only seeing you during the holidays, it’s a good time to give them a ring. While you may find yourself stuck on the line for an hour or two, they’ll appreciate the surprise check-in. If you haven’t already, it’s also a good idea to make sure that they’re looked after and are staying healthy in what’s a particularly risky situation for older people.
Holiday planning is a nice way to escape your apartment, even if it’s only imaginatively. Fill your time daydreaming about relaxing in Bali or taking in some clean, virus particle-free air in the alps somewhere while giving yourself something to look forward to once the situation subsides. Just don’t forget to book travel insurance because you never know what the next crisis situation will be.
Four new contestants — Serkan, Romana, Menowin and Jade — moved into the house last Monday, but they were banned from talking about the virus.
The 13th season of Big Brother is divided into two houses: the more futuristic Glasshouse and the more basic Blockhouse. Contestants are rated by audience members daily and the winner is granted immunity from eviction.
Five contestants — Cathleen, Mac, Maria, Mareike and Rene — have left the house already.
Sat.1 told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that there were strict rules in place to protect the residents from infection, including “special hygiene measures” at the production house. Sat.1 said all contestants had tested negative for the virus.
Read more: Culture in the time of corona
What are other countries doing?
According to Big Brother fansite, Big Brother Wikia, there are seven Big Brother franchises currently running around the world.
The Italian version of Celebrity Big Brother, Grande Fratello VIP, has been running since January 8. Due to the virus outbreak, it has banned further guests from entering the house, excluded live audiences, and has moved forward the finale.
The Italian contestants were informed of the pandemic, prompting them to sing Azzuro, which has become a sort of anthem in Italy during the pandemic.
The Brazilian contestants were informed and given disinfection gel, a lesson on handwashing and advice for avoiding contagion.
The Candian Big Brother contestants were informed of the outbreak and all chose to remain on the show. Showrunners said they had removed the live audience elements, increased precautions, but would continue to film the show.
“As part of the production’s precautionary measures, the houseguests have been provided a thorough update on the domestic and international status of COVID-19 along with an update that all houseguest’s family members remain unaffected by COVID-19 at this time. In addition to having been in isolation for more than three weeks, the production has a resident doctor who has assessed and determined that no houseguests have exhibited any signs or symptoms related to COVID-19,” showrunners told the Canadian Press.
“What a time to be in the Big Brother house and quarantined when there is a pandemic in the world,” contestant Minh-Ly reportedly said in one of the episodes. “It is the perfect place to be,” replied fellow contestant Chris, perceptively.
Contestants Hira and Susanne were brought to tears by the number of people infected.
The contestants had earlier wondered why they couldn’t hear a live audience anymore.
A day after Berlin announced that performances in major state-owned venues were to be cancelled until April 19, city authorities have banned all events with more than 1,000 participants as well. “The coronavirus continues to spread. In such a phase, public life must be restricted,” Berlin’s local Health Minister Dilek Kalayci said.
Many major concerts have been cancelled, including Madonna’s last two dates of her “Madame X” tour in Paris. France has banned on Sunday public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The Paris Opera has also cancelled its performances.
All Irish St. Patrick’s Day parades, including Dublin’s main celebration that draws around 500,000 revelers from all over the world each year, are cancelled because of fears over the spread of COVID-19, state broadcaster RTE reported on Monday. Ireland’s famous March 17 parades were also previously cancelled in 2001 during an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
With quarantine measures in place in northern Italy, soccer matches occurring without spectators, and Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte’s order to close museums, theaters and cinemas, it should come as no surprise that the Vatican has closed the doors to its museums, including the Sistine Chapel (above), until probably April 3. In the Vatican itself, five people are currently in quarantine.
This annual music, film and tech festival held in Austin, Texas, usually attracts more than 400,000 visitors. But less than a week before its March 12, 2020 start date, organizers decided to cancel in a bid to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. There’s a silver lining though: it may only be postponed and not cancelled altogether.
The International Film Academy has announced that it would be postponing its awards ceremony, also known as Bollywood’s Oscars, due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak. According to official numbers, India has been until now relatively unscathed by the epidemic. Actor Shah Rukh Khan (photo) was one the stars expected at the event planned for March 27; a new date has not been decided yet.
James Bond perhaps has a little more time on his hands than the title of the upcoming film in the franchise suggests: “No Time to Die” producers have decided to push back the release of the movie to November. Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 was initially planned for April. It’s the first Hollywood blockbuster to shift its release schedule in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
The start of the world’s most prestigious architecture biennale has also been delayed. Instead of opening in May, it will run from August 29 to November 29 — three months later than planned. The theme of the event takes on a new meaning amid current developments: “How do we live together?”
Due to take place March 10-12, the book fair was cancelled “with reluctance,” said organizers, after several major publishers such as HarperCollins and Penguin Random House pulled out of the event to avoid exposing their staff to the virus. The London Book Fair usually draws more than 25,000 authors and book industry insiders.
Europe’s biggest trade fair for the music industry also announced that it was postponing the event, which was set to celebrate its 40th anniversary on April 2-4. While it was deemed to be “the only responsible and right decision to take,” the cancellation is bound to affect many small businesses in the music industry, said Christian Höppner, secretary general of the German Music Council.
Change of plans for book fans: The Leipzig Book Fair, scheduled to be held March 12-15, was cancelled due to the spread of the new coronavirus, a spokesperson for the fair announced on March 3. The second-largest book fair in Germany expected to draw 2,500 exhibitors from 51 countries.
Preparations for the world’s largest travel fair were already in full swing when the organizers cancelled it at the last minute. Due to the ongoing virus threat, participants to the Berlin fair had to prove they had not been to one of the defined risk areas. With 170,000 visitors from all over the world, this proved to be an impossible task and the fair couldn’t open on March 4 as planned.
Each April, thousands of design professionals, artists and companies visit Milan to check out the latest in furniture and interior design. This year, however, organizers have announced it will be moved to June due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region, which has seen the lion’s share of Italian coronivirus cases. Some airlines have even suspended their flights.
There is perhaps no venue more symbolic of Italy’s rich operatic tradition than the La Scala opera house in Milan. Now, its seats will remain empty until March 8. Italy’s Prime Minister called for the suspension of cultural events and the venue is sticking to the rules. At the time of writing, Italy has more cases of the new coronavirus than any country outside of Asia.
The reigning K-Pop boy band BTS does big business with each concert, but in the wake of the virus in South Korea, the group cancelled four April dates at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which seats 69,950 people. “It’s impossible to predict the scale of the outbreak,” said the group’s management. On Tuesday, cases in South Korea reached 5,100 with the majority of infections in the city of Daegu.
No, we aren’t describing the task of containing the new coronavirus, but rather the new movie starring Tom Cruise which was supposed to have a three-week shoot in Venice. The film has been postponed, movie studio Paramount Pictures said Monday. Venice’s cultural events have been hard hit by the outbreak. The final two days of lagoon city’s annual Carnival festival were also cancelled.
On February 28, the Swiss government imposed a ban on events of more than 1,000 people until March 15, making it the first European country to do so as a preemptive measure to fight against the spread of the illness. As a result, many concerts and events were called off, including concerts by Carlos Santana (pictured) and Alice Cooper at the 15,000-person Hellenstadion in Zürich.
The Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier cancelled guest performances in Macau and Singapore due to the coronavirus outbreak. On the program were “The Lady of the Camellias,” which tells the story of a famous Parisian courtesan and “Nijinsky.” Whether the tour will take place at another point in time is still in the air. In spring 2021 the Hamburg Ballet plans to tour in Japan.