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BTS cancels Seoul leg of world tour over coronavirus concerns

BTS has canceled its Seoul concerts amid growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, the act’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, announced it had canceled the Seoul leg of the band’s “Map of the Soul” world tour scheduled to be held April 11, 12, 18, 19 at Olympic Stadium, prioritizing the health of the artists, fans and staff worldwide.

It said in a statement, “The current global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert in April alongside increasing uncertainty about the cross-border movement of concert staff and equipment.” 


The venue for BTS' Monday press conference was shut down as the event was held online only. (Yonhap)
The venue for BTS' Monday press conference was shut down as the event was held online only. (Yonhap)

The concert was expected to involve a number of production companies, a large group of expert international crew and over 200,000 concertgoers, said Big Hit.

The company stressed that the decision was made to cooperate with the government’s measures on restricting public events and municipal advisories on the use of cultural and sports facilities.

“We have thus determined that with approximately one month left before the Seoul concert is set to begin, it is unavoidable that the concert must be canceled without further delay,” it said.

Apologizing to fans, the company added that ticketholders would receive a full refund.

The announcement came shortly after BTS dropped a new music video for its latest single “On” from its new “Map of the Soul: 7” album.

BTS’ move follows in the footsteps of other K-pop groups. Acts like Twice, GOT7, Seventeen and (G)I-DLE have canceled or postponed their concerts and tour dates. Many other acts have also canceled their public events.

Large-scale events “SBS Super Concert” in Daegu and 2020 The Fact Music Awards, both of which featured BTS as headliners, have been postponed and canceled, respectively.

Earlier this week, BTS’ press conference for its new album was livestreamed via YouTube to minimize risks.

BTS’ world tour was to begin in Seoul and span 18 cities around the world, with 38 dates throughout September.

Currently promoting its new album, BTS is set to unveil a new version of “On” featuring US pop star Sia on local streaming sites later in the day.

Meanwhile, Korea reported 256 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of infections here to 2,022.

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)
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