Virus latest: Germany’s health minister says cancel concerts, stay home

Virus latest: Germany’s health minister says cancel concerts, stay home


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2020

The German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said steps must be taken to slow down the spread of Coronavirus in his country.

He said that organisers of events with more than 1,000 people taking part should cancel them. He further advises the public to stay home as much as possible.

‘Consider also what in your daily life is so important that you can’t do without it for the next three months, whether that’s an evening clubbing, a family birthday or a club meeting,’ he sad.

Germany has 902 confirmed Coronavirus cases as of Sunday night, far fewer than Italy, three times as many as the UK.

UPDATE: We are awaiting responses from leading orchestras and opera houses.



  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    So it’s ok if just 700 people gather?

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Perhaps he is right. I myself will lose huge amount of money if I do not turn up in Europe in couple of months time, but that is life.As long as there is rationality and order one can accept inconvenience. What is objectionable is lack of rationality, order and consideration for others. In the past people have suffered from much worse crisis than this, we must deal with it with dignity.

    • Gustavo says:

      Yes, just think of all those people stuck at the Turkish-Greek border.

      They would love be able to “stay home as much as possible”.

  • Incredulous says:

    Let’s see who, in six months time, and after staggering numbers of deaths of mostly older people (the core classical audience), sees a robust “future for classical music”. These halls and big ensembles are all about to be, and stay, shut down for a long time. Some, maybe many, of them will not survive.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It reminds me of the huge AIDS panic of the 1980s and onwards, which you seldom ever hear about now. At least it has moved the climate catastrophe from the front pages. People are having it slowly dawn on them that disease will always kill more people than ‘climate change’. Those who survive and adapt will thrive.

      • Amos says:

        HIV and COVID-19 have no similarity whatsoever. The former destroys the immune system of normal healthy individuals leading to 99-100% mortality untreated and the latter leads to a respiratory infection which in ~ 99-100% of normal healthy individuals is non-lethal. The only reason that HIV has been controlled is education and a cocktail of therapeutics. There is no HIV vaccine but there likely will be for COVID-19. Regrettably unless massive intervention is initiated soon climate change is fatal for everyone; there is no vaccine or therapeutic which will save anyone. Stick to politics where opinions are free and avoid science where facts matter.

      • George says:

        You don’t hear much about AIDS because it is more or less under control.

        The climate catastrophe isn’t going away.

      • Cyril says:

        Climate change and disease are very much related. Climate change enables disease(s) to flourish in many ways.

  • Gustavo says:

    It’s interesting how politicians are readily responding to a medical threat.

    Many people are running round like headless chicken, buying disinfectants and breathing masks, cancelling events, shutting schools, suggesting economic recue packages etc.

    But when poor Greta gets worked up about the environmental and socio-economic consequences of climate change, most politicians tell her to calm down and go back to school.

    The selfish gene continues to rule and is saving its own ass first.

    • Alan says:

      Gustavo most politicians worship at the hem of St Greta.
      Sad day.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        “What would you say to President Trump?”

        “Um” (sound of crickets). (Damn, where’s my script?)

    • Amos says:

      Careful now if you criticize a politician for incompetently and inhumanely responding to a public health crisis you are likely, in some quarters, to be labeled a whiner. Is it possible to conceive of a public official who when asked if ~ 4000 human beings trapped on a ship at sea with virus infected shipmates should be brought ashore responds no because then the reported number of infected people in his country will increase and it isn’t our fault. Any responsible political leader would assemble a panel of experts, devise a plan to safely enable passengers to be tested and treated and implement the plan asap. Fortunately, in the US the Governor of California is taking the lead.

      • PaulD says:

        Meanwhile, pathogens are being spread on the streets of his home city of San Francisco, and Los Angeles, in the form of human excrement.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Reminds me of the plight of the Jews prior to and during WW2. Nobody would have them and they were disease-free.

        • Amos says:

          Please crawl back under your rock and stay there.

        • Amos says:

          Even in your most deluded national socialist fantasy do you really think that there is any comparison between people taking a luxury vacation cruise threatened by A world leader unwilling to assist them because it would hinder his re-election efforts and people forced to flee by ship to avoid extermination?

    • Tamino says:

      The difference between Coronavirus and Global Warming is a simple one:

      One is a risk for old rich people (those who rule the world). Because one can’t buy protection against it (for now).

      The other isn’t. Because they will be dead for long after it caused havoc.

      The rest is circumstantial.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Except that the young ‘survivors’ of Covid-19 will become old and another Coronavirus will happen along. Don’t think so? That should help you to sleep each night.

    • Sue Sonata form says:

      Your last sentence; come on now, you’re putting me on!!

    • david hilton says:

      If you can name even 1 politician who has told Greta T “to calm down and go back to school” I will be amazed. I don’t that person exists.

      • Gustavo says:

        “Chill Greta, Chill!” – remember who said that?

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        European Parliament Representative Pietro Fiocch did exactly that. And U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

  • Alexander Hall says:

    The sight and sound of politicians desperately trying to show that they are in full command of the situation is a wondrous thing. They have already lost control of the spread of a microbe that will not be halted at any border. Why it is thought good to cancel concerts but not trains in which large numbers of people also circulate and pass on huge quantities of germs is one of the many inconsistencies in the thinking of a cadre of leaders who believe they must be seen to act. More like headless chickens.

    • MTC says:

      Barrie Trower on 5G at the Exeter Phoenix

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Not to mention sporting events, where only Italy seems to have decreed empty stadiums (so far) — although the Indian Wells BNP Paribas tennis tournament, considered by some the most significant one short of the Grand Slams, has just been postponed indefinitely.

      How is the risk of concerts, opera and cultural awards ceremonies less than the risk of a stadium with tens of thousands of screaming, shouting fans?

  • Grabenassel says:

    Grigory Sokolov has postponed todays recital in Berlin until
    June 15th. He did not want to travel from Italy….

  • Brian v says:

    Football is still going on and in the U.K. we have crowd of over 50000 in a stadium.
    Why concert halls should close I cannot understand

    • Gustavo says:

      I presume because the virus is “a risk for old rich people (those who rule the world)” – to quote Tamino.

      Furthermore, frustrated football hooligans may be a larger HSE risk (for the old and rich) – so bread and games for them.

      Breathings masks, disinfectant gel and home streaming opera for the old and rich.

      999 free tickets for school kids each Friday!

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Never fear, Gustavo. Joe Biden will soon be telling us 150 million Americans have died from Covid-19 and you’ll feel like a real survivor!!

    • Ron Swanson says:

      The number of cases is higher in Germany, meaning there is higher risk of person to person spread in a crowd.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Most football stadiums are outdoors where it is cold and windy. If the fans watched it on television in the pub they would be closer together, and more would catch the covid-19 bug.

  • Gustavo says:

    If politicians manage to make such ruthless decisions affecting the public sector why can’t they regulate other sectors more boldly.

    The German car industry is corrupt and outdated, fossil fuel is still available throughout the whole country, while the public transport system has been run down over the past decades. And there is still no speed limit on German motorways.

    How can it be that a virus (not even a microbe) is dominating politics and leading to such swift and bold decisions?

    • Tamino says:

      See above. The elites (old rich people) are threatened by the virus.
      Not by the other things you named.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        But Tamino, you too can be old and rich one day. You can even be rich before you’re old; that would be good wouldn’t it? But you’d need to be an ‘economic progressive’ before than and not just a sad regressive Lefty.

        • Tamino says:

          I said nowhere anything against being old and rich. I said something about selfish human nature, caring most about threats that are imminent to oneself. And if you also have the power, then…

  • John Daszak says:

    I wonder if his government also advises stopping mortgage repayments, bank charges, tax payments, utility bills, food bills etc…etc… for the thousands of people who’s income would be affected??

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Let’s look at what happened during that other global pandemic: world war two. I know, I know; their working conditions weren’t all that hot.

  • david hilton says:

    “Germany has 902 confirmed Coronavirus cases as of Sunday night, far fewer than Italy, three times as many as the UK.” . . . yes, but Germany has no doubt tested far more individuals than has the UK, thus explaining the apparent discrepancy. If you don’t test people, you won’t have high numbers of infected citizens.

    • Gustavo says:

      Yes, it’s like with Avian flew back in 2006.

      The epicentre in Germany happened to be exactly next to the lab where dead birds were being gathered and analysed on a daily basis.

      It’s what one calls perception bias.