A group of 14 men and women currently residing in a house in Cologne, western Germany, are competing in the country’s 13th season of the reality TV show.
The majority of the housemates have been in isolation since February 6, when news of the coronavirus was minimal. Since then, they have been cut off from updates from the outside world, except when the show introduced four more housemates on March 6, three days before Germany reported its first coronavirus death.
Defending the decision not to update the housemates on the crisis going on in the outside world, the show’s producers told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that the information blackout would only be lifted in certain circumstances, such as a family member’s illness.
They also said that “special hygiene measures” were being taken to protect contestants from infection, though they didn’t explain what they were.
After uproar on social media, Sat.1, the channel Big Brother airs on, changed its position and announced a special live episode, due to air before the regular slot at 7pm on Tuesday evening (March 17).
Housemates will be told of the growing crisis and will be given the opportunity to ask questions about the state of the nation, as well as receive video messages from their relatives.
Meanwhile, in his latest press conference relating to the coronavirus crisis, the Prime Minister has said UK citizens should avoid all “non-essential” contact with others as cases of the virus continue to increase worldwide.
Saying that the virus is approaching the “fast growth” stage in the UK, Boris Johnson has now urged people to avoid visiting pubs, clubs and theatres and to work from home wherever possible. Johnson said “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel.”
Over the past week, a whole host of gigs and festivals have been cancelled or postponed due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic.