All that will change during a special live broadcast on Tuesday evening, however, when the 14 housemates will be informed of the crisis that has sickened more than 7,500 people in their home country and killed 17, reported the BBC.
Most participants have been hunkered down inside the house that serves as the TV set in Cologne since Feb. 6, when the outbreak was mainly in mainland China.
Four contestants who entered the house on March 9 were instructed not to talk about the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization later declared a pandemic. Germany has gone into virtual lockdown, with schools closed and all but essential businesses ordered shut.
TV channel SAT.1, which is producing the 20th anniversary season of the show, has delayed telling participants about the crisis, unless there were extenuating circumstances, such as if a family member fell ill.
It performed an about-turn, however, after drawing scorn on social media and consulting with the housemates’ relatives, it said in a statement Monday.
The Brazilian edition of the show informed its housemates of the pandemic during a broadcast earlier in the week, and shared clips on Instagram:
Housemates on the current Canadian season, meanwhile, were provided with “a thorough update on the domestic and international status of COVID-19 along with an update that all houseguest’s family members remain unaffected by COVID-19 at this time,” according to a statement released online Monday.
The series’ producer, Insight Productions, said it had suspended live tapings of the show and a resident doctor “assessed and determined that no houseguests have exhibited any signs or symptoms.”
“In light of the extremely unique situation regarding COVID-19, the houseguests were each provided a letter from home and remain in the Big Brother house at their own will,” the producers added.