German host Jochen Schropp explained what was happening with a doctor at his side, and contestants were sent videos from home to assure them that their friends and families were okay. And despite the ethical qualms with producers withholding such information, the results definitely make for riveting reality television.
Schropp informed the contestants about the pandemic, sharing news segments and footage of deserted streets in Italy and Germany.
Most watched in stunned silence, while a few burst into tears. One contestant, Michele, explained that she was a geriatric nurse and was particularly worried about her patients.
The Big Brother Germany housemates have been isolated in set houses since February 6, when the coronavirus was contained mainly within China.
New housemates entered the show on March 9, before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and were given strict orders not to tell their housemates any news from the outside world.
Germany now has more than 8,000 reported cases and has closed multiple international borders.
None of the competitors has expressed wishes to leave the show, though many viewers have pointed out that the stakes are higher now since weekly evictions now mean sending the voted-out person into a pandemic.
This Big Brother Germany thing is mad, really adds a new twist to the eviction process when you are voting for who you want to throw out of isolation into an actual deadly pandemic— Monopoly Phonic 🅙 (@MonopolyPhonic) March 16, 2020
so now that the big brother germany contestants know about coronavirus, that means they're going to be voting to evict people out into a pandemic.... holy shit that's fucked... even for reality tv show standards— 𝕩𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕣 ✨✌🏻 (@oddxeye) March 17, 2020
Watch the episode in German below.
Big Brother previously broke the isolation rules in 2001 to inform American contestants of the events of 9/11.