With hundreds of cases coronavirus now confirmed in Europe, a noted scientist in The Netherlands has suggested that it would be foolish to stage Eurovision 2020 if the spread of the virus isn’t brought under control. Speaking to Dutch newspaper AD, Ab Osterhaus, a leading Dutch virologist and expert on influenza, questioned the wisdom of bringing tens of thousands of people from all over the world to Rotterdam.

“You have to take into account the scenario that events like the Eurovision Song Contest cannot go ahead,” he said. “But that depends on how the coronavirus develops in the coming period.”

The outbreak and spread of coronavirus has already forced several other high-profile events to be cancelled or postponed. The famed Venice Carnival, which was meant to finish February 25, was shut down two days early. And The Mobile World Congress — set to start on February 24 in Barcelona — was called off entirely. Organisers of large events later in the year have already switched plans, too. The Formula One China Grand Prix, scheduled for April, has been postponed until further notice. Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, has just said a final decision about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be put off until the end of May.

Mr Osterhaus told AD that it’s likely the Netherlands will have to deal with Covid-19 — the official name of the disease caused by the virus. “It is still possible that the virus will eventually be suppressed,” he said. “We succeeded with SARS, but the virus spread less quickly.”

It’s important to note that the virus survives longer in cold weather. There are hopes that as temperatures rise in the spring and summer, the number of new infections will slow. Eurovision, of course, isn’t until May.

Eurovision 2020: Will the song contest go on despite coronavirus?

Although the overwhelming majority of cases and deaths have been in China, the new virus has spread across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In recent days Italy has emerged as a new epicentre of the virus. As of Tuesday evening, Italy had reported 322 infections — up from 229 on Monday — and a death toll of 10. This is the largest cluster of cases outside of Asia. It’s still spreading. On February 25, new cases were reported in Spain, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and France. Authorities have linked many of these cases back to the Lombardy region of northern Italy.

There is uncertainty about the mortality rate, as many people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms. But the higher scientific estimates suggest the virus is about twenty times more deadly than the flu. That’s according to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which has conducted the largest-scale study on cases thus far. (We should point out that this research was done on cases in China, so may not reflect mortality rates elsewhere owing to varying access to quality medical care, among other variables). The elderly and frontline medical staff are the most vulnerable. Against this backdrop, it’s only natural that questions are being asked about Eurovision.

On February 24 a spokeswoman for the city of Rotterdam told AD that they’re assessing the situation. “We monitor everything closely and are prepared for all possible risks and threats,” Ingrid Adriaanse said. “On the basis of this, an assessment is made as to whether additional measures are needed. However, it is currently too early to comment on possible scenarios.”

NPO has also responded. On February 25, Eurovison spokesman Danny Vormer said that the broadcaster takes its guidance from RIVM — The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment — rather than Mr Osterhaus.

“This man is undoubtedly good at his job, but we follow RIVM,” he said. “Their advice leads and if they say there is a specific threat, then we will take action. It is too early now.”

The EBU, of course, has experience in planning for crisis situations. It always has a backup plan if the host city is struck by terrorism, an extreme weather event, a natural disaster or other circumstances that could derail the festival. If the public aspect of the event were cancelled, it is still likely the show would proceed in some form — whether that’s relocating to a TV studio or playing to an empty arena.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead we’ll hope that the outbreak slows and that scientists and authorities can collaborate to bring it to an end.

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[…] Could Eurovision 2020 be cancelled because of coronavirus? NPO responds to virologist’s commen… […]

TrueEurofan
Guest
TrueEurofan

Oh no! I love watching Eurovision since my childhood with my parents! If I am a huge Eurovision fan, I would be very upset when the contest is cancelled or skipped!

Coronavinus
Guest
Coronavinus

European countries on May 16.
Good evening, Rotterdam. This is…
Vienna calling: Alive
Brussels calling: Release me (from the quaranteen)
Riga calling: Still breathing
London calling: My last breath

Jokes aside guys, since yesterday the government of my country (France) does not allow any gatherings of more than 5000 people. The Paris marathon, and festivals were canceled already until the further notice. I’m sure the Dutch would take a similar decision if they have to. So we’ll wait and see what happens in May.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

EBU I have a very uncomfortable question to you
will eurovision be cancelled?

ESCViechivier
Guest
ESCViechivier

Sweden 2020: “I’m not Bulletproof!”
Me: “I’m not Coronavirus-proof!”

Ykz
Guest
Ykz

It can be done without the gathering in Rotterdam. Each country can broadcast the representing song from home. it can be live or a recorded performance.

Carla
Guest
Carla

This is like a last call solution. I magine a eurovision without making a performance on a stage. I would rather cancel the show then. Also what would all these broadcasters say when they are putting so much money into selecting songs and some even have amazing selections like Australia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania etc.
I can tell your this, the dutchies will make this show happen

Ykz
Guest
Ykz

I hope they do and that the Eurovision will go on as every year.
As a last call solution I think it’s better to broadcast the performances from every country, so that we’ll have the competition. It can still feel like a celebration, knowing millions are at home watching at the same time. Of course hopefully it will go on as always.

MalteMalta
Guest
MalteMalta

JOWST headmasks is the new sponsor of esc 2020

RebecaValdi
Guest
RebecaValdi

this comment made my day haha

Wembley2012
Guest
Wembley2012

and Koza Mostraz “alchohol is free“ hand disinfection is also one of the head sponsor.

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest

I think I’d prefer a mask along the lines of Hatari’s drummer. Those spikes will surely keep the virus at bay, won’t they? ^^ Also, if you’re wearing them, you know that the Corona Virus won’t be the thing that prevails – hatred will! XD

BREXIT CAREER WOMAN
Guest
BREXIT CAREER WOMAN

everyone get their mask

Talentina Monetta
Guest
Talentina Monetta

@Covid-19

STAY AWAY FROM EUROVISION
GET A JOB

La la love
Guest
La la love

The show must go on

Ying
Guest
Ying

1, No one exactly knows that the effective quarantine days is 14, 24 or 40 days? 2, Infected through air, contact, aerosols, feces. Virus remains in the stool and urine. 3, Asymptomatic carriers are highly contagious. 4,Recovery patients test result still shows positive. 5, Masks, gloves, protective clothing, hospital beds, and even emergency food supplies, which country’s reserves are sufficient? As above, we could concluded that human still need time to study this Covid-19 virus. Before we get to know this virus, PLEASE avoid all the large activity, indoor or outdoor. Don’t forget people in Wuhan has the same thoughts… Read more »

BREXIT CAREER WOMAN
Guest
BREXIT CAREER WOMAN

quaranta means 40

z z
Guest
z z

1, No one exactly knows that the effective quarantine days is 14, 24 or 40 days? 2, Infected through air, contact, aerosols, feces. Virus remains in the stool and urine. 3, Asymptomatic carriers are highly contagious. 4,Recovery patients test result still shows positive. 5, Masks, gloves, protective clothing, hospital beds, and even emergency food supplies, which country’s reserves are sufficient? As above, we could concluded that human still need time to study this Covid-19 virus. Before we get to know this virus, PLEASE avoid all the large activity, indoor or outdoor. Don’t forget people in Wuhan has the same thoughts… Read more »

pepe
Guest
pepe

Maybe we should cancel the Zandvoort Formula 1 Grand Prix too. Or the EC football matches in Amsterdam. Let’s see how the public reacts to that.

KnutA [Norwegian]
Guest
KnutA [Norwegian]

They’re talking about cancelling Euro 2020 in UK too. Summer Olympics in Japan as well.

Frank Arthur
Guest
Frank Arthur

First we must see how many survivors go to be in the planet and if they go to be enough for to become full in the Ahoy Rotterdam, so dont panic, all is under control………..

Ana
Guest
Ana

I know that you’e a sad troll but for people who are actually panicking, less than 3% of the people who get the virus actually die, most of them are people above 70yo.

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest

Yeah, sure, and then they will also cancel the European football championship because of the Corona Virus… right?
Riiight…?

Seriously, if that were to happen, i.e. Eurovision getting cancelled but the championship isn’t, it would confirm to me that this obnoxious “football > Eurovision” attitude is not just exclusive to Germany and the UK (who keep using football to divert their audience’s attention away from the horrible results the broadcasters keep achieving). In sum, Eurovision is still the largest single-show TV event, larger than any football game.

Isak
Guest
Isak

And also EURO2020 is hosted in many countries, which increase traveling for teams and fans. It should definitely be canceled if there is an outbreak then. Eurovision can at least do many things to reduce spread and still go on.

CRISTIANO MESSI
Guest

I hope that EURO2020 will be played. Finland is playing there for the first time. I dont mind about ESC, it’s coming every year. But football cup is so important. But Corona can stop it in the worst case.
Football > ESC (even if Im a big ESC fan)

CRISTIANO MESSI
Guest

World Cup final is wayyy bigger than Eurovision. Probably Euros and UCL finals too.

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest

We weren’t talking about the World Cup, only the European championship. But even when referring to the World Cup, while the whole event is obviously larger than Eurovision, the single matches are not. Those are usually only watched by people from the two competing nations. In Eurovision, all involved nations compete at once (or in their respective semis), so you have a lot more simultaneous viewers per individual TV broadcast.

Puzzle
Guest
Puzzle

Lol, you clearly don’t know what you are talking about. All matches are watched by people around the world.

KnutA [Norwegian]
Guest
KnutA [Norwegian]

They are already debating to cancel the Euro Championship and Summer Olympicsm. This is real.

The virus is a modified version of the Black Death. Made in a laboratory, and released to get rid of Hong Kong riots. The govs was about to lose their grip before the virus. Now everything is suddenly peaceful and too quiet.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Everything about Coronavirus is being so inflated. We have had a lot of virus like these over tha past 20 years. They are dangerous for elder people or people with a weak immune system. For now that’s all. I don’t think there is too much risk for the others because it would be just like a strong flu.

Manejabibarca
Guest
Manejabibarca

So it’s OK for young healthy people to go around with it and spread it to vulnerable people is it?

Duncan
Guest

There are already far too many people (especially in China and India).

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

This comment by “Duncan”: “There are already far too many people (especially in China and India)” SHOULD BE REMOVED.

john o'brien
Guest
john o'brien

Trouble is, Whisker, is that Nigel Farage said the same thing at a conference in Australia.

KnutA [Norwegian]
Guest
KnutA [Norwegian]

The virus is a modified version of the Black Death. Made in a laboratory, and released to get rid of Hong Kong riots. The govs was about to lose their grip before the virus. Now everything is suddenly peaceful and too quiet.

Alex
Guest
Alex

If it will be cancelled what will happen to all of the songs?

Alaska
Guest
Alaska

They will all be put in a pop-music-obliterator-machine and be destroyed, not to be listened to again.

La la love
Guest
La la love

Lmao

Jimmy Smit
Guest
Jimmy Smit

Right now, that would only be half bad.

Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

Just let all acts perform remotely. This is a TV event, afterall.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Yall we have seen Swine Flue Bird Flu Ebola SARS West Nile Virus and now Corona Virus, this too shall pass.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

it won’t be canceled ofc, it’s over two months until rehearsals start, and the situation will hopefully have gotten better by then. grandmavision stans better stay safe tho!

Andrius
Guest
Andrius

If there is big risk of corona they just can do a show in an empty arena and broadcast everything through internet and TV so i don’t see it being canceled

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

The contest wasn’t even cancelled after Tschernobyl!

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

Tchernobyl incident happened when almost all the delegations were already in Bergen (Norway) almost 2000 km away and anyway humans doesn’t transmit radioactivity. When it’s there it’s there and you can’t do nothing.
At that time the audience, the press was exclusively from western countries far far away from Ukraine. Flights haven’t been canceled over Europe because it was pointless and wouldn’t have stopped the radioactive cloud.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

But back then the wind went towards Norway,,,And there were concerns!!!!!!!

Jack
Guest
Jack

Whoever argues that is a pure idiot. Eurovision wasn’t canceled when Yugoslavia was in war and the contest was taking place in Italy. Stop the nonsense

Lomba
Guest
Lomba

You compare war to a virus spreading. That’s dumb. When a lot of people from all over the world gather in one place it’s a very good condition to spread the virus. War has no similar effect SO HOW IS YOUR ARGUMENT IS EVEN A THING?

Lise
Guest
Lise

“It’s important to note that the virus survives longer in cold weather. There are hopes that as temperatures rise in the spring and summer, the number of new infections will slow.”
If Coronavirus is similar to the flu, just a reminder that the pick season for the flu is December to February. Surely they won’t cancel a show in May due to a seasonal disease, new or not. #fingerscrossed

Liam Lindsay
Guest
Liam Lindsay

Well, it has been reported that the storm season for Europe, will come to an end at the beginning of March so not much longer and once we in March it’s only a fortnight or so before the equinox when temperatures begin to rise.

Dtesc
Guest
Dtesc

countries with hot climate like Thailand, Vietnam and Israel are suffering from the Coronavirus as well. If the infected are not being taken to quarantined and hospitalized this will be a hot mess.

Lise
Guest
Lise

Oh really? that would be worrying. I thought those infected were coming back from China and Japan where it’s still quite cold.

TLV
Guest
TLV

It’s been a very wet and cold winter in Israel so far and no virus have been found internally (to this moment). The 2 cases are only from people returned from the Japanese cruise ship and immediately put in a hospital quarantine and treatment.

Fionn
Guest
Fionn

His name is Dick Pound lmao hahahahahhaha

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

#bully

The Roop is On Fire
Guest
The Roop is On Fire

What are you, a child?

CRISTIANO MESSI
Guest

Well it is funny, admit

Fionn
Guest
Fionn

Ya actually I’m 13 hahaha

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Can’t see ESC being cancelled. Of course anything can happen, but I think the EBU have contingency plans in place.

Somebody
Guest
Somebody

You know this contest won’t be damn cancelled.

Ta guy
Guest
Ta guy

I think the existing reality of social media really adds fuel to the barrel of panic over the world, the spread of the virus is not that big, and it’s slowly decreasing.
It’s just important that all the contaminated people stay in segregation, and all the rest to keep their hygiene to stay in control of the disease.

Isak
Guest
Isak

The only place it is decreasing is in China, where extreme measures have put into place. In Europe, Middle-east and East Asia it is increasing.

Jessey
Guest
Jessey

This is a nightmare this I my first time I’m going to Eurovision live i i maybe cant go because of Corona virus this is grazy

Nessa
Guest
Nessa

Don’t worry you’ll be able to go 🙂

Denis
Guest
Denis

Realistically speaking I don’t think it will be cancelled. Even if there is a outbreak. EBU would do anything to make it go ahead. Maybe cancel all the village events, red carpet and so on and just focus on the shows.
But cancel it? No..

ESCkey
Guest
ESCkey

Maybe just delay the show?

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

What’s happening now is basically just a repeat of the 2009 swine flu pandemic with a similar disease. Even the fatality percentage is about the same as swine flu so far.

Yeah, it got big. But we lived through it. We survived and we are fine. Some of us got sick but we all were okay and got better.

And we will be fine again. Almost all of us will survive. Some of us get sick, but we’ll get over it.

It’ll suck when it happens, but everything will be okay.

Eurovision will probably go on.

xohxoh
Guest
xohxoh

Empty arena would be a great solution.

Wowzer
Guest

Ugh ebola and SARS could never. Carolavirus is so iconic and impactful

EuroSluuuuuutty
Guest
EuroSluuuuuutty

Ikr. Tbh i’d love to experience some coronavirus, it sounds fun tbh tbh

The Roop is On Fire
Guest
The Roop is On Fire

Victor Cronavirus on the other hand is bad. Let’s stay away from it.

Kredential
Guest
Kredential

I get the concern but honestly at this point the coronavirus has been blown way out of proportion and into unnecessary mass hysteria. I don’t see why it should be cancelled – the Commonwealth Games went on just fine in 2014 despite the Ebola outbreak. Tighten security measures in Rotterdam a couple of weeks before the contest and if absolutely necessary, require all ticket holders to provide evidence of a clean bill of health before being admitted into the arena.

pony
Guest
pony

I know people gets worried about this but we can’t stop just our lives because of this. Especially when we have hard times in europe shows like Eurovision is a forum to get people together. And if Eurovision will be cancelled then Olympics would be cancelled too and that is bizarre and unthinkable.

No One
Guest
No One

It’s just a flu…

Wowzer
Guest

It’s all flu and games until you feel something heavy in your chest. Stay safe fellow Eurofans

No One
Guest
No One

I live in Milan, I’m absolutely not surrendering to all this useless psychosis, living my life as I always do (unless restrictions). It’s crazy and out of control, this virus has been around for months. Maybe I took it and recovered without even noticing. It’s c r a z y

EuroSluuuuuutty
Guest
EuroSluuuuuutty

Tbh i wouldn’t mind if Eurovision gets cancelled. I always wanted it to take place around July/August #HotSummerVibes

Joseph Mendy
Guest
Joseph Mendy

That was a stupid thing to say, wasn’t it?

Thanos
Guest
Thanos

Cancelling Eurovision would be really bad and I really wouldn’t be able to take it as it’s one of my favourite times of the year. But in this situation we are with so many deaths in China and with Europe starting to get affected, I seriously thinl we should be more concerned about the loss of human lives and the human suffering. Humans matter the most!!! I am Greek we have probably already been affected by the virus btw.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I was thinking, the EBU is going to do everything they can to ensure the three shows go ahead. The sideshow events (Euroclub, Euro Village, etc) won’t be a priority, but those three television shows are. If worst comes to worst, all the acts could stay home and perform their songs at a local TV studio, beamed in via satellite.

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

That would be a sensible option. It’s so shocking to think Eurovision could be cancelled for the very first time, after so many years since its debut in 1956!!!

Jala89
Guest
Jala89

It’s a relative of the flu virus…. every year in the EU 15000-70000 die of the flu (per EU reports) The only reason this is making news is because it’s new and from China. It’s the same how we were all going to die or SARS, MERS and the swine flu (H1N1).

Erik
Guest
Erik

Of course people shouldn’t panic, but it’s really important to consider the risk. In Eurovision, people come from a lot of countries gather around to a concentrated place. In virus-perspective that’s great. Because all that needs is people from any of these countries represented to carry the virus. Then it’s easily spread. After the spread in the concentrated area, these people will go back to their respective countries. So, say half of the countries where people present come from will get the virus on a small scale. It’s not the end of the world. But if we wanted to reduce… Read more »

Khazar
Guest

Hands off Coronavirus!

Serafina
Guest
Serafina

Well, I’m not going because I’m broke, but if I had the money to, i would, don’t care about Coronavirus. It can kill me if it wants, as long it waits for the 16th of May, we cool.

The Roop is On Fire
Guest
The Roop is On Fire

Always remember to clean and sanitize yourselves wherever you go and be informed about real and unbiased facts on how to prevent the said virus.

Sebas
Guest
Sebas

IMO, people die cuz of other reasons more often than the coronavirus… overreacting like some are atm seems stupid… realistically I don’t see Eurovision gettin cancelled.

Bebethequeen
Guest
Bebethequeen

No matter what l still gonna be in the crowd in a bubble ball dancing to all the songs. I have paid way too much even the coronavirus is not going to hold me down.

Lise
Guest
Lise

I was just thinking how hotels and train companies will act if this really happen. No free cancellation on trains or hotels would be turning the knife twice if a cancellation does happen!

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not, it’s no use panicking or picturing the worst scenarios. What we can do now is wash our hands frequently, practise cough etiquette, avoid close contact with visably sick people and remain optimistic.

Duncan
Guest

And pray to God (Jon Ola Sand).

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

“However, it is currently too early to comment on possible scenarios.”
Seems about right.

Liam Lindsay
Guest
Liam Lindsay

Given the current scale of the virus outbreak in Europe I don’t see the reason to have the cancellation option on the cards the contest gets underway with rehearsals in just under 2 months from now, and given the current weather trends which sees the jet stream dipping and slowing signalling warmer conditions on the horizon from early-mid March onwards, if these trends are to be believed we could see a spring-summer on par or closely related to 2018 with the prolonged heat spells. (that meteorology workshop finally paying off!) So I wouldn’t start worrying until late March early April… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Hear hear!