It’s been more than a month since the majority of Germany’s Big Brother contestants entered the house.
In early February the first cases of coronavirus outside of Wuhan were just being reported.
Now Germany has close to 7,000 confirmed infections, with 14 deaths – but the housemates have no idea a global pandemic has been declared.
They’ll finally be informed on Tuesday night in a live TV special, after “consultation with relatives”.
It comes after criticism on social media that broadcaster SAT.1 hadn’t told the 14 men and women locked inside the house in Cologne about what was going on outside.
On top of that, four new residents who joined the show on 9 March were told not to talk about coronavirus.
But SAT.1 has updated its rules, which usually mean only informing housemates about the outside world if a close relative or friend dies, according to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
On Tuesday the show’s host Jochen Schropp and its resident doctor will inform housemates about the growing pandemic.
It is expected they will be told about the number of cases in Germany – and that Chancellor Angela Merkel has closed clubs, bars, leisure facilities, zoos and playgrounds – as well as the situation worldwide.
Housemates will get a chance to ask questions and see video messages from relatives.
‘Maybe it’s been sound-proofed?’
The German cast aren’t the only Big Brother housemates with no idea about the rate coronavirus is progressing around the world.
On Canadian Big Brother the contestants have been wondering why they couldn’t hear a live audience outside during the latest eviction – with one suggesting the house might’ve been sound-proofed.
In reality, audience members have been stopped from attending live shows since 12 March.
“The health and safety of our staff, crew, houseguests, and audience members are of the utmost importance,” production company Global TV said in a statement.
“We will continue to produce the show and monitor the situation closely.”
The housemates have since been updated “on the domestic and international status of COVID-19”, and been told that all their family members are doing OK.
The Canadian show’s resident doctor has also assessed the contestants and “determined that no houseguests have exhibited any signs or symptoms related to COVID-19”.
Since being told, every housemate has chosen to remain on the show.
Big Brother Australia’s contestants have also been told about the situation in their country as well as worldwide.
But in Brazil the 20th season of Big Brother has been running since 21 January – and is scheduled to keep going until late April.
The housemates on that iteration of the show have reportedly not been told about coronavirus – although Radio 1 Newsbeat is trying to find out whether that will change.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for coronavirus, but members of the president’s team have tested positive.
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