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(LEAD) BTS cuts down world tour itinerary due to coronavirus

K-pop 17:00 March 24, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 5-6, 9-13)

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- K-pop boy band BTS announced Tuesday it will cut down the itinerary of its upcoming world tour, "Map of the Soul Tour," due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"With the global spread of COVID-19, in some countries and cities, the level of unpredictability is becoming higher to prepare for the shows," the band's management agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a notice posted on the Weverse mobile app.

"As a result of the current global circumstances, we anticipate having to make changes to the current tour schedule," according to the notice.

"We are making every effort to proceed with the planned performances where possible ... details on any changes will be provided separately for each region," Big Hit said.

Big Hit said any cancellations or rescheduling will be based on a policy of full cooperation with the guidance and directives of national and local governments and concert venues.

"We will place the highest priority on the health and safety of our artists and fans and do our utmost to keep the promises we made to our fans," it added.

BTS earlier canceled the inaugural Seoul leg of the tour, set for mid-April in Seoul, amid COVID-19 infections. Including Seoul, the tour was to hit 18 cities across the globe for a total of 38 concerts.

Part of the following North American leg of the tour is highly likely to be subject to additional cancellations, including the first stop at Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium on April 25 and for least five more concerts from early to mid-May set for Los Angeles and Dallas.

In recent guidelines for COVID-19, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that for the next eight weeks organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.

Following the advice, Levi's Stadium, where BTS' Santa Clara event was scheduled, has recently suspended its operations.

Throughout May till early June, the BTS tour is scheduled to hit more North American cities including Orlando, Atlanta, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. before moving to Japan's Fukuoka in late June.

Starting on July 3, the tour's European leg will then take the band to London, Berlin, Barcelona before moving back to Japan in late July.

Big Hit said it is currently working to revive the canceled Seoul edition of the world tour in the event of improvements in the coronavirus situation here.

An image of BTS provided by Big Hit Entertainment (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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