With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, hundreds of major events continue to see cancellations over concern for spreading the virus. That includes BTS’ own tour dates. BTS’ Map of the Soul tour cancellation response finally arrived after mounting pressures to limit social exposure and engage in what the United State’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends as “social distancing” in light of the virus.
Big Hit Entertainment, the company that manages the BTS boys, has already addressed these concerns in Korea, where the Map of the Soul tour was set to kick off in Seoul in February. The label canceled the first of four tour dates after over 2,000 tested cases of coronavirus were confirmed in South Korea.
Big Hit Entertainment shared the following statement at the time:
Due to the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus (COVID19), it is currently unpredictable how far the virus will have spread by April; Furthermore, securing concert staff, equipment, and even mobility is uncertain. While we hope that the situation will improve, we must take into consideration the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of guests, as well as our artists and the dire impact as last-minute cancellations, may have on guests from overseas, production companies and staff.
Things have only gotten worse. Worldwide, there are over 120,000 reported cases of individuals infected with COVID-19, according to a live tracker by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S. alone, numbers continue to climb with over 1,300 confirmed cases. Naturally, this poses a risk not only to the BTS boys, but also to eager ARMYs who would have to pack into arena stadiums for their MOTS concerts.
“We don’t know if BTS will move forward with their plan for the U.S. tour,” said Big Hit official to Korea Times on March 11. “For now, we will have to monitor the coronavirus situation there before making a decision.”
As of now, BTS is still set to kick off their U.S. leg of the tour at the end of April. Their first stop is scheduled in Santa Clara, Calif., where the state already has over 170 confirmed cases (excluding those infected on the docked Diamond Princess cruise ship).
ARMYs, meanwhile, continue to prove their resilience and support as a fandom. Many on Twitter continue to urge for the safety in the name of the greater good, and understand if this pandemic means a postponed tour.