BTS cancel Seoul concerts as coronavirus spreads in S. Korea: agency

This handout photo provided by Big Hit Entertainment on February 24, 2020, shows K-pop group BTS members posing for a photo before a press conference to promote their fourth album “Map of the Soul: 7” in Seoul. – South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak forced K-pop superstars BTS to live stream a conference promoting their new album from an empty hall on February 24, with members urging fans to take care of themselves. (Photo by Handout / Big Hit Entertainment / AFP) 

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — K-pop megastars BTS on Friday canceled four concerts they were due to hold in Seoul in April, their agency said, as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in South Korea.

The country has so far confirmed more than 2,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, by far the largest national total outside China, the origin of the disease.

“We regret to announce” that the Seoul concerts have been canceled, BTS agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement.

The four concerts, scheduled to take place between April 11 and 19 at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, home to the 1988 Games, we’re expected to draw “over 200,000” BTS fans.

It was “impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak”, it said, creating uncertainty over the movement of staff, equipment, and fans, making the cancellation “unavoidable”, it said.

The move came after the boy band held a press conference to promote their new album in an empty hall on Monday because of the virus.

BTS — or Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts — is the first K-pop group to top charts in the United States and Britain.

Their latest album “Map of the Soul: 7”, released last week, was the most pre-ordered South Korean album of all time, with more than four million copies sold before its release.

© Agence France-Presse