The contestants on Germany’s edition of Big Brother have been informed about the coronavirus outbreak, several days after it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
They entered the Big Brother house on 6th February, at which time they would only have been aware of the virus in Wuhan and isolated cases in other parts of the world.
German broadcaster Sat.1 had not been updating contestants on the rapid spread of the virus, but they will be told about the crisis in a live episode tonight.
A spokesperson for Big Brother said: “The health and wellbeing of Big Brother Housemates is our priority. All current productions were informed last week that the usual format rules regarding outside news do not apply in this instance, and it was requested that they inform their respective housemates of the evolving situation regarding COVID-19.
“The majority of Housemates have already been briefed and this process will be complete today (17th March).”
It is standard practice for contestants on Big Brother to be kept in the dark about current events, but the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented instance in the history of the show.
Previously, Sat.1 had told Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Of course, the residents will be informed if there is reason to do so. Which information is given to the residents from outside is also decided in exchange with the relatives.”
The current series of Big Brother Germany is expected to continue for another nine weeks.
A similar situation had been developing on the Canadian version of the show, where residents of the Big Brother house were recently heard wondering why there was no live audience at the most recent eviction.
They too have now been properly informed about the outbreak.
Germany now has had almost 5,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, while Canada has over 400.