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:
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The Director General of the EBU has imposed travel restrictions on employees. It’s after an employee in Geneva tested positive for coronavirus. As a result, #Eurovision boss Jon Ola Sand and other top officials will not be able to attend the Heads of Delegation meeting in Rotterdam next week. Israel and Sweden have also pulled out of the meeting and will attend remotely. Above you can read the letter that the EBU sent to HoDs today.
“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