Herman Eloff, News24’s Lifestyle and Entertainment Editor, calls out DStv for recklessly putting on an award show during a global pandemic.
On Saturday night thousands gathered at the The Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg for the glitzy DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards with celebs like Somizi pitching up wearing a sparkling blue gas mask covering his face.
In a statement to the press on Sunday morning, DStv said the Northgate venue was "packed to the rafters".
As events locally and globally were immediately cancelled to curb the spread of the coronavirus, DStv gathered thousands in a dome to celebrate their own achievements.
The show, hosted by Minnie Dlamini-Jones, continued despite an urgent call from health officials and experts to avoid large gatherings and to self-isolate.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, AfrikaBurn, Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, and even the F1 Joburg Festival (to name just a few) heeded the call and immediately stepped up to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) the virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, but some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.
In Italy, a country now in an unprecedented shutdown, precautionary measures were ignored causing a drastic influx of coronavirus cases which saw its medical system buckle under the sudden surge of sick people that needed treatment.
On Saturday night guests at the DStv event were told that measures were taken "against the threat of the Covid-19 virus", which included: "Hand sanitizer for each guest", "medical rooms", "paramedical services". Whilst good hygiene is one way to halt the spread of the virus none of the aforementioned measures would have had any impact in effectively stopping the virus from spreading last night.
I know the saying is "the show must go on", but not right now. Not during a global, deadly pandemic. Big companies, like MultiChoice, should be setting examples and taking the lead during a time of crisis, not putting on glitzy award shows to boost celebrity egos.