While the entire globe struggles to grapple with the COVID-19 outbreak that has so far claimed 7,100 lives and infected 182,400 worldwide, a group of reality TV contestants in Germany are enjoying luxury food and hot tubs and have not the faintest clue of the pandemic happening in the real world.
Big Brother Germany contestants are currently holed up in a house in Cologne and have been cut off from the rest of the world since 6th February. While four others were added to the house a month later, on 6th March – three days before the first COVID-19 death in Germany – they were told not to inform the rest of the contestants about the outbreak.
The broadcasters initially agreed on Saturday not to tell the contestants but now they have agreed to inform them in a special live broadcast on Tuesday night, according to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The show's host Jochen Schropp and its resident doctor will inform housemates about the growing pandemic on Tuesday. The 14 men and women will be given the chance to contact loved ones and family members, as well as ask questions about the recent outbreak. Germany has close to 7,000 confirmed infections with 14 deaths at the time of writing.
The contestants will also be told about German Chancellor Angela Merkel's new restrictions on public life, including the closure of bars and restaurants along with the prohibition of religious gatherings and non-essential travel, as well as the situation worldwide.
The World Health Organization says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don't get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever. If you suspect you have the symptoms of COVID-19 you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors.