Coronavirus could potentially threaten the Eurovision Song Contest, says virologist Ab Osterhaus. The news has made headlines in the Netherlands, but the organisers of Eurovision 2020 aren’t worried yet. They are monitoring the situation closely together with RIVM, the National Health Institute, they say.
Coronavirus at Eurovision?
Since the virus, which is also known under the name Covid-19, was first discovered in China, it has quickly spread around the world. After original reports from Asia, we have now seen cruise ships and hotels in lockdown to avoid the virus from spreading. Ever since reaching Northern Italy, Europe has started to see more consequences. Major events in Italy, such as the Venice Carnival, have been cancelled. Other events, also in Spain and Germany, have decided to postpone their event, to see how the Covid-19 situation develops over the course of the next few months.
The virus has not yet arrived in the Netherlands itself. However, yesterday a man in Germany was diagnosed with the Coronavirus just kilometers away from the Dutch border. Experts say the chances of the virus reaching the Netherlands are “considerable”.
Monitoring the situation
Virologist Ab Osterhaus has said the next step in battling the Coronavirus is to make sure it spreads as slowly as possible, to make sure there’s more time to find a vaccine or other medicine. With that, he mentions several examples of events in the Netherlands that may find themselves under threat because of Covid-19. Besides Eurovision, he mentions the Euro 2020 football matches, the Formula 1 race on Zandvoort and the Rotterdam Marathon.
According to Osterhaus, events where people from many different countries gather may be the most dangerous ones. It is reassuring to know that the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest aren’t worried yet. Danny Vormer, spokesperson of the EBU, gave the following quote to RTL Nieuws:
We are in close contact [with the National Health Institute, RIVM], but that’s just common sense. All of us take this threat seriously. The virologist, mr. Osterhaus, is undoubtedly good at his job, but our job is to follow the RIVM. Their advice is leading. When they say “There’s a concrete threat for Eurovision”, we’ll take the necessary steps. For that, it’s now way too soon.NPO’s Danny Vormer to RTL Nieuws
Spokesperson for the city of Rotterdam, Ingrid Adriaanse, has also commented. She has said that the city is prepared for all scenarios. They are prepared for all potential risks and threats, but also feel it is too soon to now take any precautions. Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam has asked questions, to see what it would cost to take the necessary precautions and protect the visitors.
The RIVM has also confirmed that they are monitoring the situation. They also say it is way too soon to speak of cancelling or postponing the Eurovision Song Contest.