The 65th edition of the popular pan-European singing competition Eurovision has been canceled due to health concerns connected to the spread of the respiratory illness known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), The Hollywood Reporter says.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the annual event, said it was canceling Eurovision 2020, making it the latest media event to be dropped as the coronavirus continues to spread across Europe.
Concerns first emerged March 4 when a European Broadcasting Union employee tested positive for COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, after returning from northern Italy, a hotspot for the infection in Europe. Several EBU employees were placed in quarantine.
Eurovision 2020 was scheduled to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands from May 12 through May 16, following the country’s victory at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the song “Arcade” performed by Duncan Laurence. It would have been the 65th Eurovision Song Contest and the fifth time that the Netherlands hosts the event, the last being in 1980.
This marks the first time in Eurovision history that the contest has been canceled. Launched in 1956, Eurovision is a wildly popular, if also widely mocked, event that regularly draws huge ratings across the continent. Eurovision 2019 attracted 182 million viewers across 40 markets, according to the EBU.