Eurovision singers told to follow strict new Covid rules

Eurovision contestants will have to take regular Covid-19 tests and must stay in their hotel – except when they travel to the arena where the contest is taking place.

New health and safety rules published ahead of this year’s song contest also include scaled-back international delegations, social distancing and strict hygiene measures.

Eurovision was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic but the 2020 competition is due to take place in Rotterdam in May.

Performers, including UK entry James Newman, and all other attendees from abroad, will be recommended to go into quarantine for five days before departure to the Netherlands.

They must test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their flight.

Newman, the older brother of pop star John Newman, had been set to appear at last year’s contest before it was cancelled.

This year delegations have to stay in their hotel, except when they travel to Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena for rehearsals, the live shows and other programme-related activities.

Everyone in the arena, including crew, artists and press, will be tested regularly in a special facility.

If a participant is unable to perform live because of a positive Covid test, a backup recording will be used.

Martin Osterdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s executive supervisor, said: “The spirit and tradition of the Eurovision Song Contest is about uniting Europe on one stage and we are very much still determined to achieve this in Rotterdam in May.

“We are moving forward with our plans to produce a safe Eurovision Song Contest, with all artists performing live in Rotterdam.”

The number of journalists who can attend the event will also be capped at 500 with a further 1,000 able to cover the show in a new online press centre.

A decision on whether an audience can be present at the shows will be made nearer the time.

Mr Osterdahl told the BBC Newscast podcast that celebrations from musicians will have to be more muted than in previous years, with no kissing and hugging.

Hull Live – What’s On