On Monday (March 2), South Korea reported 476 new cases of COVID-19, hitting at an all-time-high record of 4,212. South Korea currently ranks 1st on the countries with the most cases outside China. The coronavirus outbreak isn’t just a China virus anymore as it became a global emergency.
The scare greatly affected many aspects of South Korea especially tourism and K-Pop, which have strengthen continuously over the past few years. As of writing, a total of 81 countries all over the world have banned entry of people traveling from South Korea. The number sums up 42 percent of the UN member countries.
Most awaited concerts are being cancelled to help prevent the spread as it is highly recommended to avoid big congregations. BTS and Twice are among the groups that cancelled events while some postpones local and international activities.
On Friday, February 28, Big Hit Entertainment and BTS have announced via Weverse that with heavy hearts, they decided to cancel the Seoul leg of the most anticipated K-Pop world tour, ‘Map of the Soul Tour’ to prioritize the health of everyone involved such as the artists, fans and staff.
Big Hit Entertainment stated that the decision they made was unavoidable knowing that the preparation for the tour is expected to gather a huge number of the production staff including the seven artists who will rehearse for this. The four-day concert in Seoul which was scheduled on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 was expected to unite over 200,000 fans all over the globe. Upon the announcement of tour, the group also conducted a fan club raffle which qualifies all members of the fan club worldwide.
It is still uncertain if the next dates of the tour, particularly the US leg in late April. The original tour schedule is also set to visit the United Kingdom, some countries in Europe and Japan. A Big Hit representative has declined to comment further on the tour.
Other artists and tours that have been postponed or cancelled are TWICE’s ‘Twicelights Finale in Seoul‘, (G)I-DLE‘s comeback and already announced tour, Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon, Infinite‘s Sunggyu and GOT7‘s Taiwan shows, Japan tour legs are greatly affected to as Red Velvet, NCT Dream and TVXQ announced show cancellation and postponement.
Artists and Entertainment agencies are starting to use digital alternatives to conduct activities. BTS held their ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ Press Conference at an empty venue, where they requested questions in advance that they will answer during the livestream on Youtube. Music shows also started recording broadcast with no audience to minimize contact with a big crowd.
SM Entertainment‘s NCT 127 is set to release a new album this Friday and promote online. JYP‘s girl group, ITZY are also planning to do online promotions instead of the traditional comeback activities.
Rookies were also affected as Everglow, Elris and UNVS recently announced cancellation of showcases and fan meetings.
Last week, It was reported that soloist Chungha and her staff were tested for coronavirus. Fortunately, the singer was negative but two of her staff were positive. MNH Entertainment have announced that she will temporarily cancel upcoming schedules as she and her staff were advised to do self-isolation. Pledis Entertainment cleared the rumors about NU’EST member, Minhyun to have acquired the virus when he went to the same event in Italy where Chungha’s staff got the virus. He was tested negative along with his staff.
Korea Entertainment Producer’s Association stated that they will look closely to the damage and will come up with counter measures to minimize the impact on the Korean music scene.