Eurovision Song Contest cancelled over coronavirus

Eurovision has been cancelled. Source: Barcroft Media

There will be no Eurovision Song Contest this year, organisers of the event say, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest scheduled for May in Rotterdam has been cancelled for the first time in the event's 64-year history due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Broadcasters are now in talks with the Dutch port city for it to host the event - a glitzy pageant of songs that has millions of viewers across Europe and further afield - in 2021, they said.

"It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam," the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement.

"Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead," it added.

Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Duncan Laurence of The Netherland.
Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Duncan Laurence of The Netherland.

"However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe - and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities - means the EBU has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned."

Eurovision is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural and sporting events to be cancelled because of coronavirus, including the Euro 2020 football championships and Britain's Glastonbury music festival.

The Netherlands won the right to host Eurovision after Dutch singer Duncan Laurence stormed to victory in last year's contest in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, and Rotterdam was named as host city in August.

A total of 65,000 people had been expected to attend nine different shows including the final on 16 May at Rotterdam's Ahoy venue. Organisers said they and Rotterdam authorities "will continue a conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021".

"We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May," they added.

Europe has become the epicentre of COVID-19 with more than 3,400 deaths now recorded, surpassing the number in Asia.

The Netherlands has itself recorded 58 deaths and 2,051 cases in total.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only people who have recently travelled from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and experienced symptoms within 14 days are advised to be tested.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch