Even to those who have stayed abreast of the rapidly changing coronavirus narrative, current changes to the modern world and our everyday way of living have required a lengthy period of adjustment.
Strict guidelines put in place to stop the spread of an airborne disease that has so far claimed 82,195 lives and infected an estimated 1,432,577 across the globe have resulted in almost all major cities shutting down, for an as yet undetermined period of time.
Many have compared the unprecedented actions taken by most developed countries to a plot-line from a science fiction film, but what of those who remained insulated from the pandemic as it spread its toxic wings from China and enveloped the world?
Living nightmare: Former Swedish Big Brother contestant Daniel Glasman admits he’s still struggling to comprehend the scope of the disaster after entering the show’s purpose built house when the virus was still largely confined to the far-east
Speaking to The Guardian, former Swedish Big Brother contestant Daniel Glasman admits he’s still struggling to comprehend the scope of the disaster after entering the show’s purpose built house when the virus was still largely confined to the far-east.
‘I’m digesting the whole thing,’ said Daniel, who was cut-off from the outside world for over a month in the Swedish Big Brother house. ‘It’s so difficult because I would be in the middle of the process of dealing with being isolated, and I have to deal with the fact that the world has changed while I was gone.
‘I can’t turn my back on the world for 50 days and expect the world to keep it together, apparently. I’ve had a very profound experience, but so has the world.’
Changes: ‘I can’t turn my back on the world for 50 days and expect the world to keep it together, apparently. I’ve had a very profound experience, but so has the world,’said Daniel (pictured top centre, in Big Brother Sweden)
A 38-year old communications consultant and nightclub worker, Daniel admits the contestants were still making light of the coronavirus outbreak as they entered the house, unaware that it would soon touch the lives of everyone.
He recalled: ‘When we went in to isolation, we had no idea of the scale or spread of coronavirus and zero confirmed cases in Sweden.
‘We were making jokes about the situation around corona but it was in good faith – imagining if it’s all turned into a zombie movie when we leave the house.’
Good times: Big Brother Germany contestants let their hair down before being informed of the coronavirus pandemic. Like its Swedish and Brazilian counterparts, the show continues to run as normal
While he remained insulated from the developing catastrophe, Daniel revealed the live camera-feed was temporarily cut while producers informed them of world they would be re-entering upon their departure.
Describing it as a well organised fact-based question-and-answer session, he admits it was not taken advantage of by many of his housemates, adding: ‘With all due respect to my fellow Big Brother participants, it’s not exactly a house full of rocket scientists.’
Despite the advanced spread of coronavirus Sweden is controversially yet to implement a nationwide lockdown, and Daniel admits he has visited his favourite restaurants and bars since leaving the show – all while adhering to two-metre social distancing measures.
Shell-shocked: German contestants were informed of the disaster in March
The Swedish version of Big Brother also continues as normal, as does its German variant, where contestants were informed of the pandemic in March.
The then 14 contestants, who are being housed in Cologne, were stunned into silence as they were informed about the worldwide crisis by host Jochen Schropp during a live televised episode.
He said: ‘There is currently a lot going on in world events since you entered the house. We’d like to inform you as to why we’re here and why we’re behind a glass screen.
All over: Hira Deol – who spent 25 days in the Canadian Big Brother house before it was prematurely shut down – admitted contestants were terrified after being told of the virus
‘COVID-19 has basically spread across the world in recent days, triggering a global pandemic. This is a disease similar to the flu, and is mainly dangerous for older people.’
Easing the contestants fears, he added: ‘We’re going to allow you to speak to your families so you can rest easy. And you can communicate with them as they are all okay.’
Big Brother contestants were also given the opportunity to ask questions to the show’s resident doctor Dr Andreas Kaniewski, as well as to speak to their loved ones at home.
Carrying on: In Brazil, where close to seven thousand cases have been recorded since February, the show is also running, albeit with a persistent online demand for participating medical staff to be evicted early
Plans to keep them in the dark unless a relative became ill were overturned following an uproar on social media over the decision.
Meanwhile producers of the Canadian series took a more direct approach by prematurely shutting down the series and donating its $100,000 prize money to coronavirus COVID-19 charities.
Reflecting on the moment contestants were informed of the decision, Hira Deol – who spent 25 days in the Canadian house – admitted they were terrified.
Struggles: Filming wrapped for Big Brother Australia on Friday after a ‘disappointing’ cast, restaged eviction and a COVID-19 scare. Pictured: host Sonia Kruger
‘Part of this Big Brother game is being cut off from the real world, and it’s scary because you do not know what’s going on out there,’ the 30-year old accountant recalled.
In Australia, where 5,350 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded, Big Brother wrapped filming on Friday after rushing to finish production before they were shut down due to coronavirus.
According to TV Blackbox, production was accelerated after they experienced a COVID-19 scare that caused the set to be shut down for 48 hours in late March.
Production company Endemol Shine Australia sped up the filming process on set so they wouldn’t have to halt shooting again amid the ongoing pandemic.
Finished: The British version of Big Brother, originally hosted by Davina McCall, went off air in 2018
In Brazil, where close to seven thousand cases have been recorded since February, the show is also running, albeit with a persistent online demand for participating medical staff to be evicted early.
It is not known if contestants in the Rio de Janeiro based house have been informed of the growing crisis.
The British version of Big Brother, originally hosted by Davina McCall before moving from Channel 4 to Channel 5, went off air in 2018.