Germany's Big Brother Contestants Haven't Been Told About Coronavirus Pandemic Yet
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub..
Big Brother contestants around the world are ahead of the curve when it comes to self-isolation amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
However, new reports reveal that the 14 contestants on the Germany reality series are being kept in the dark about the severity of the outbreak.
A majority of the cast entered the house on Feb. 6, as news of the coronavirus was still fresh and fixated on Wuhan, China. Four more contestants entered the house in March, according to The Guardian, just days before Germany announced its first death from COVID-19.
Metro reported that all contestants reportedly tested negative before entering the house and that the March housemates were told not to tell the original contestants any news about the virus.
The show’s producers originally defended their decision not to update the housemates about the crisis, telling German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that they would only consider sharing the news under special circumstances, such as a relative’s illness.
However, a social media uproar led the network, Sat.1, to announce that the contestants will be updated about COVID-19 during a live special episode, set to air Tuesday night at 7 p.m. local time.
In a statement to PEOPLE, a Sat.1 representative confirmed the contestants will be told Tuesday night.
“TV-host Jochen Schropp and Big Brother Doctor Andreas Kaniewski will inform them live on TV,” the rep said. “Afterwards the contestants will have the opportunity to ask questions about COVID-19 and will get video-messages from their relatives and loved ones to make sure all of them are well.”
As of Tuesday morning, there have been at least 8,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 20 deaths in Germany, according to a Johns Hopkins database. The country has also seen more than 60 recoveries from the virus, thus far.
Other iterations of Big Brother have also reportedly updated their contestants about the pandemic.
According to Canada’s Global News, the Toronto-based Canadian Big Brother was recently informed about the virus after the show eliminated its live studio audience to help contain the spread.
“There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 on any Corus Original productions and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” Corus told the outlet in a statement on Monday.
“As part of the production’s precautionary measures, the houseguests have been provided 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. In addition to having been in isolation for more than three weeks, the production has a resident doctor who has assessed and determined that no houseguests have exhibited any signs or symptoms related to COVID-19.”
Contestants currently competing on the Australian Big Brother have also been informed about the growing crisis, according to 7News Australia.
“Housemates have been brought across the current situation and we are in constant contact with the families to keep all involved up to date,” a spokesperson for the show, which began filming three weeks ago,told the outlet.
Canada announced on Monday that they would be closing their borders amid the outbreak, according to several reports. The North American country has seen 439 confirmed cases and four deaths as of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Australia has confirmed 375 cases of COVID-19 and five deaths.