The 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak has without a doubt already, and significantly, changed the way of life for many people around the world this year 2020. Spikes in the numbers of reportedly infected people in various countries have led to the postponement or cancellation of events, up to imposing community lockdowns and travel restrictions. The Philippines has its own COVID-19 patients, leading to concerns that have put off several local events like concerts and sports seasons. In the wake of a sudden rise in new cases, a major noontime variety show on TV has been forced to take drastic measures.
GMA News has it that “Eat Bulaga,” the longest-running noontime variety show on Philippine television, has decided not to admit live a studio audience for their future tapings of the program for GMA7. This was announced on the show’s official Instagram page this Monday, March 9. As already made plain, the decision was made in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak which includes the country among the many with multiple confirmed cases. By not having a live audience in the studio, “Eat Bulaga” hopes to assist in reducing the large-scale gathering of people that might risk further spreading the infection.
It is just as well, considering that the Department of Health (DOH) has dropped bone-chilling news that it has confirmed 10 new cases of novel coronavirus infection on this same day, in addition to the 10 thus far that have been recorded. According to DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergerie, the new cases were discovered from a batch of collected samples from patients under observation over a period from March 6 to 8. Of the earlier 10 cases, 7 remain confined, two have gotten better, and one has passed away.
The “Eat Bulaga” crew notes in their Instagram statement that the barring of live studio audience for forthcoming tapings of the show was decided after careful consideration, the better to help government agencies already tacking COVID-19 in keeping more people from the possibility of being exposed to the novel coronavirus. They will, of course, continue to bring a thousand and one joys to TV audiences at home, which is the important thing. The noontime show and GMA7 have not made any further announcement regarding how long the “no studio audience” measure will last until cancelled.
Image from Philippine Star