The EBU has imposed a travel ban on staff until March 13.

Announced by the EBU on March 3,  the restrictions are a precautionary move against the spread of coronavirus.

The ban has been introduced after an EBU employee in Switzerland was confirmed to have contracted the virus. Eurovision delegations were informed on Tuesday morning.

That news was not earlier reported in the Swedish press coverage of Sweden’s withdrawal from the Heads of Delegation meeting. However, wiwibloggs has now obtained — from multiple sources — a copy of the letter sent from the EBU to delegations:

“As some of you may already be aware, the EBU in Geneva has had one person test positive for coronavirus amongst its staff.”

As a result of that, the EBU’s general director “in the interests of health and safety of staff and Members, has imposed travel restrictions on all staff until at least Friday 13 March.”

Staff affected include Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand. The letter goes on to say that Sand will not attend the HoD meeting, but will join it remotely.

Israel pulls out of Heads of Delegation Meeting

First it was Sweden. And now Israel. Last year’s Eurovision host nation will not be at the Heads of Delegation either, as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Like Swedish broadcaster SVT, Israel’s KAN has decided not to attend the meeting next Monday in Rotterdam. This is due to advice from Israel’s Health Ministry to avoid unnecessary travel.

The Ministry of Health has advised Israelis against travel abroad except in “urgent” cases. Sources within the Israeli broadcaster confirmed the Ministry’s directive as the reason for cancellation to Ynet. wiwibloggs has confirmed the news independently with sources at the broadcaster.

That does not mean Israel won’t be at Eurovision: KAN still intends to compete in Rotterdam in May. Indeed the final stage of The Next Star for Eurovision took place tonight. The delegation will attend remotely.

While the news may seem alarming, Dutch Eurovision organisers monitor the situation daily and these precautions are in line with advice from governments. 

Photo Credit: EBU

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[…] et les Israéliens ont annoncé qu’ils ne feraient pas le déplacement aux Pays-Bas, comme le note le site Wiwibloggs. Le Norvégien Jon Ola Sand, superviseur exécutif de l’Eurovision ne participera pas non plus à […]

Fun or ban?
Fun or ban?
6 months ago

Jon Ola Sand, leave us alone! Quit and go!

Arielle75
Arielle75
6 months ago

ESC 2020 had to be cancelled.

Nicky91
Nicky91
6 months ago
Reply to  Arielle75

no, it is a too huge event to just cancel, also unfair to all delegations, all chosen artists/songs

so you need to look at other possible options to go along with the contest

– separate tv studio’s would be not be a too bad idea

– no live audience would be a nice last resort option

Hada
Hada
6 months ago

My money is that they will cancel every non-essential Eurovision event, a.k.a. Euro village, euro club, pre parties, stuff like that. Let’s see how this progresses.

Denis
Denis
6 months ago

Oh please! People escaped bombs and granades during war just to compete in ESC. You think a little virus, no more dangerous than the common flu virus will stop people?
People risked lives in wars yet competed and now youre telling me people fear a virus with 3 % mortality?

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

IT IS NOT THE SAME THING.

Denis
Denis
6 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

No, war is worse. Because people actually die in wars. People actually risked their lives in order to get to ESC. Are you saying that the same broadcasters that did all that is suddenly now getting causious over something that’s not happening? It’s far from pandemic and it’s likely not being one either..

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

As @aroncido already mentioned before, large cities have been quarantined. Seasonal flu doesn’t require quarantine. This virus is aggressive and treatment has required in some cases strong antivirals, the kind used to treat HIV related cases. That is ULTRA-SERIOUS. Thousands of people have already died.

People have risked their lives to get to Eurovision, That is brave. However, IT IS NOT THE SAME THING.

Hada
Hada
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

“Because people actually die in wars” more than 3000 have died of coronavirus already

Nicky91
Nicky91
6 months ago
Reply to  Hada

swine flu in 2009 had over 27 million infected, that was a pandemic, and back then ESC just went on as normal

aroncido
aroncido
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

They impose complete army quarantines on cities of 10-20 million because it’s “no more dangerous than the common flu virus”, sure.

Fatima
Fatima
6 months ago

If the heads of delegations won’t travel to be with one another, then it looks unlikely that entire delegations will be in a position to do the same in just a few weeks. Unless the situation eases. I’m being realistic, sadly.

ESCJudge
ESCJudge
6 months ago

Eurovision 2020 will not be cancelled, although it may not be an audience in the arena… or… it will be pre-recorded performances and a full on-line event without live music. Too much money have been already invested to cancel it permanently… EBU can’t afford to cancel.

West
West
6 months ago
Reply to  ESCJudge

I agree – they’ll definitely try to minimize any extra costs (and postponing the contest or any changes would be costly), but cancelation is most likely out of question.

Pavel
Pavel
6 months ago
Reply to  ESCJudge

They can do a Eurovision 1963 style – all performers in a modern tv studio. At the time, it was really cool actually, the artists could explore different possibilities.

Arielle75
Arielle75
6 months ago
Reply to  ESCJudge

live music in the ESC ???????????
there’s no live music at all just live performers on tapes

Leenchen
Leenchen
6 months ago

The panic caused by the spread of this virus is much more dangerous than the virus itself. So guys, stop panicking and just take care of yourself! Wash your hands and don’t cough or sneeze without covering your nose and mouth!

Rashad
Rashad
6 months ago

I hope the virus is gone by May. At this point, I just want to believe that viruses die in heat. Otherwise it would be really sad to cancel Eurovision for the whole year. Keeping fingers crossed.

Leo
Leo
6 months ago
Reply to  Rashad

It definitely will become less of a problem during the warm months. So everyone needs to calm down, especially regarding Eurovision. It’s months away and even now during the outbreak not every event gets cancelled. For example not a single football game has been cancelled in here in Germany so far and those are often in even bigger arenas than Eurovision.
And even IF a mass gathering would be too dangerous in May, it could still be done as a broadcast without live audience. That would be kind of sad, but better than nothing. No need to cancel it completely.

Zod
Zod
6 months ago
Reply to  Rashad

Well, there are 15 cases in Israel and the temperatures there are already 19-20C. I guess we will see if it spreads or not in heat very soon.

Alex
Alex
6 months ago

At this point, going to Italy is suicide.

Tusán
Tusán
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex

You’re just another typical gullible tv viewer.

Una
Una
6 months ago

I think everyone should hold their horses a bit and let the people in the known do their jobs. Experts in public health, immunology, epidemiology work on it. National governments and the WHO. I have high hopes this crisis will end soon because the economic impact is already quite important. There will be a lot more losses should the crisis not be contained. Not only that a illness brings a lot of suffering but money talks and governments will want to minimize losses. And business entities of course. Put whatever ban is needed within certain limits and make this crisis… Read more »

Robert
Robert
6 months ago

I work in the hospital across the Ahoy, Ikazia Hospital.. Just been informed through email that the first Corona patient has been admitted on sunday.. After tests this older man was told he has the virus.. Having just had stemceltransplant to fight Multiple Sclerosis, my immune system is much weaker than another person atm.. Scary! Now that I finally have tickets…… It’s getting so close, hope 1, every person affected by it will be fine and of course 2, big events we love will proceed.. Fingers crossed

bdvkl
bdvkl
6 months ago

The 2019-Corona (Covid-19) virus outbreak is a serious issue. Now it’s pandemic and both death and seriously ill cases are risen around the Globe. And it effects all ages, not only the immune compromised or too old or too young persons. We could learn from what’s happened with the pandemic of the Spanish flu. So I suggest at the end of the day, if the situation gets worsen, the ESC 2020 should be postponed, same as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. And if you were at risk or sick, please do not attend the event even you had already booked… Read more »

Leo
Leo
6 months ago
Reply to  bdvkl

It’s a matter of fact that it doesn’t affect healthy, young people the way it affects older, less healthy people. Stop spreading unnecessary panic.

Tusán
Tusán
6 months ago
Reply to  bdvkl

Stop with the fake news, it’s not even close to be pandemic.

Denis
Denis
6 months ago
Reply to  bdvkl

Stop spreading more panic! Youre part of the problem

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
6 months ago

I nearly had a heart attack I thought Israel was fully withdrawing for a moment there

Tom
Tom
6 months ago
Reply to  Ashton Schier

yea the headline is poorly written – it does sound like what you suggested

Irishfan
Irishfan
6 months ago

Public health is paramount. If the competition has to be curtailed to prevent the spread of the disease then so be it. Mass gatherings of people and travel should be prevented right now.

Denis
Denis
6 months ago
Reply to  Irishfan

Phh. I know if I was sick and lying in hospital I know I would love to be able to see ESC. Isn’t that precisely what you need ESC for, to forget about your trouble?

Irishfan
Irishfan
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I agree…but these are extraordinary circumstances. If gathering large groups of people together and travel risks life then it shouldn’t happen. There are alot of vulnerable people out there

IVANOV
IVANOV
6 months ago

We already have a winner. Let everyone be safe and welcome #Moscow2021 or #SaintPetersburg2021

Ana
Ana
6 months ago
Reply to  IVANOV

If Verka, who was miles better than Little Big, couldn’t win, your Russian clowns will fail as well. And we don’t need Eurovision in a homophobic country. I an surprised why this country even wants to win this that much.

Jonas
Jonas
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

Marriage equality is only legal in sixteen of the 41 competing countries, so it’s not like homophobia is exclusive to Russia, sadly.

Ana
Ana
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

So tell me, how many countries among the 41 ESC participants have laws targeting the LGBT community specifically? Imagine ESC where you get a fine or worse for coming to the venue with the rainbow flag. THOSE ARE FORBIDDEN IN THERE. I’m not even starting to get into all the killings that happened in Chechnia (which is under Russian control). Like seriously, ESC might be the biggest worldwide event that is so closely connected with the LGBT community. Why shall we give it to an openly homophobic country? Wasn’t it enough that they bribed their way to host the Olympics… Read more »

babushkaLazareva
babushkaLazareva
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

lol go back to your tv watching CNN :)))))))

Una
Una
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

But the BBC informs that Russia want to enshrine in their Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman. Something along those lines. I read the news a couple of days ago or yesterday; I can’t remember. Homophobia will always exist unfortunately along xenophobia and racism and misoginy and white man privilege but when you have such ugly stuff in the body of law of the country it gets ugly and painful.

Glorious Mustache
Glorious Mustache
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

Ukraine is as much homophobic as Russia but Europeans are forgetting this so often. I guess because Ukraine isn’t a global superpower with strong criticism towards the European Union and generally controversial in many aspects. I love me some double standards. And you can’t even imagine how many more ESC countries are homophobic. Even Greece (my country) is kinda homophobic. At least we don’t punish or kill them. But it’s considered a “flaw” or a “sin” by many. I can name every Eastern European country and find many people with homophobic ideas in them. So don’t be picky on issues… Read more »

Ana
Ana
6 months ago

How is Ukraine “much more homophobic” if it doesn’t have anti LGBT laws and actually has gay parades in Kiev protected by the police? Where in Russia do you have those? Huh? It sounds like you don’t know much but have to say something anyways.

NovelFrost
NovelFrost
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

You are talking about “anti LGBT laws ” but do you know what’s written in this law (there is only 1)?

Ana
Ana
6 months ago
Reply to  NovelFrost

I know. I am a native Russian speaker, so I can also read it in the original language.

Rovshan Gahramanov
Rovshan Gahramanov
6 months ago
Reply to  IVANOV

Since when Russia is safe ?!

babushkaLazareva
babushkaLazareva
6 months ago
Reply to  IVANOV

russophobes’ a**es will blow up then:)) nah juries wont let them win seriously. +the song seems weak.

esc1234
esc1234
6 months ago

In 65 years, countries were participating even while they were even having war back home, and now many people are afraid that broadcasters will pull off. For heavens shake, get your s*it together and stop freaking out for no reason.

Héctor
Héctor
6 months ago

They are overdoing it all. Coronavirus isn’t that dangerous to most of the people.

Jo.
Jo.
6 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

but it is dangerous to certain groups of people, I’m sure everybody knows at least one person in one of those groups.

Burp
Burp
6 months ago
Reply to  Jo.

Those groups should not be going to events like this anyways. Old people and people with immune conditions shouldn’t travel like at all during this pandemic

Jo.
Jo.
6 months ago
Reply to  Burp

They don’t even need to travel, young and healthy people can get Corona and then transmit the virus to them.

Fruzz
6 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

Yes. Even in Vietnam all people who infected totally well right now

Erik
Erik
6 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

Yes. Not dangerous to most people. But 2% die.
Let’s assume all of earths population gets infected. And we say there are 7 billion. Now 140 million people die. Yes, not dangerous to most people. But not safe.

So we all want to reduce transmissions. Because we don’t want 140 million deaths. Or we can swap and only think about our healthy selves. We won’t be one of those 140 million. So why risk cancelling entertaining event? So let’s do this anyway

Ana
Ana
6 months ago

What a mess. It’s actually impossible to cancel the contest without thousands of people getting stuck with plane tickets and non refundable hotels. Who’s going to compensate them? If Rotterdam doesn’t have the virus it could be possible to fill the arena with only locals. But what will be with all those who was planning to come from abroad?

Jonas
Jonas
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

Nobody’s going to compensate them, because it’s nobody’s fault.

Robert
Robert
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

There is a case in the hospital across Ahoy even, I work there and just been informed

West
West
6 months ago
Reply to  Ana

I think you just pointed out the most important thing: money. It’s not only people who invested into visiting Netherlands in May as guests. It’s also the participating countries and host country as well – they all invested money into this and by canceling ESC all this money (or the large part of it) would be lost. I can see them postponing the contest to minimize the lost, but not cancelation.

Erik
Erik
6 months ago

Skype conference FTW!
They will surely solve this.

Joe
Joe
6 months ago

Let’s get some things straight here: – Coronavirus can only seriously affect you if you’re really young, really old, or have a poor immune system. Your chances of getting it otherwise are slim, and if you do, it’ll mostly just feel like a bad flu. It won’t kill you. – We already knew Switzerland had been affected. Rotterdam isn’t. – Eurovision is in May. Plenty of time to get it under control. – No, Israel didn’t withdraw from the whole thing. They’re just not attending the meeting. – It would take a LOT to cancel Eurovision outright. The EBU are… Read more »

Polliu
Polliu
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

It won’t kill you? Don’t underestimate the disease! It already killed thousands worldwide and people should protect themselves no matter what. Some people just got it for being in an elevator with the patient for less than 1 minute and people got pulmonary fibrosis after they recovered from the disease. The damage to your lungs will be everlasting so it’s not just a simple flu and people are not overreacting. Wearing medical masks are important now.

Anx
Anx
6 months ago
Reply to  Polliu

People are being hysterical because it’s a new virus, while forgetting that many people die each year because of the flu. Of course it’s worrying, but it’s not like contracting the virus means a certain death.

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago
Reply to  Anx

Covid-19 is NOT some kind of flu that you can protect yourself against via immunization ahead of the flu season, as it is the norm. There are Covid-19 cases on all continents except Antarctica. The more precautions are taken now, the better. And remember, before you say that is doesn’t mean certain death, there are many people that died already because of Covid-19.

James
James
6 months ago
Reply to  Polliu

I live in Asia and since masks are basically out of stock now in my country because of an earlier volcanic eruption that took place last January (as inhaling volcanic ash is much more damaging to the lungs than COVID-19 could), not everyone wears one.

And 3 months into the new year, we only have 3 confirmed cases so far.

Walter
Walter
6 months ago
Reply to  Polliu

I wish you were more like Asia. I live in Thailand, and I would say that 4 out of 5 people wear face masks on public transport. There is free hand disinfectant on every street corner. It is only thanks to measures like these that not a single new corona case has emerged in Thailand for more than a week (while the country was heavily impacted during the early stages of the virus due to its proximity to China). Compare that to Europe where everyone happily goes skiing in the Italian Alps, and the virus is spreading like crazy!

Anx
Anx
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Just one tiny correction: one person in Rotterdam does have corona. She was hospitalized for a week before they even found out, but the hospital is closed right now and as far as I know, she’s the only person from Rotterdam te be infected (so far). There’s also a case in Delft, a city pretty close to Rotterdam. Other cases are farther away.

Greta
Greta
6 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Of course we understand that, but what would you do yourself? Go and risk bringing back the virus (on your hands or clothes) and then say shake hands/hug/kiss to your old mom ,dad, or maybe new born baby or your child with asthma…just because you might not get infected you still might spread the virus and make other people around you sick.
It is the spread of the virus that is the problem, the less it spreads the easier it will be to control the situation.

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago
Reply to  Greta

#truth

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 months ago

I am concerned that the esc will fail completely….

Eurofan
Eurofan
6 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Me too. I am not afraid of the virus, but I’m really worried that Eurovision 2020 might be cancelled.

Mark
Mark
6 months ago
Reply to  Eurofan

Health is MUCH more important than a music contest.

Eurofan
Eurofan
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Of course it is, but this virus is slightly more dangerous than a seasonal flu, this is just media hysteria.

Duncan
6 months ago
Reply to  Eurofan

The virus isn’t that bad but the difference is that there’s no vaccine yet. Most old people in the Netherlands are vaccinated against the flu.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
6 months ago
Reply to  Eurofan

Oh no no no NO you didn’t have say that. Don’t!!

Ana
Ana
6 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Football games? The freaking summer olympics are a couple of months away. I feel sorry for those countries that prepared for those events and now they rather be canceled or spoiled by all of this in another way.