Chance of BBC scaling back services if hit with Coronavirus

Josh Peachey's picture

The BBC's Director-General has said that there's a chance some of its services might be out of action if the newsroom was hit with an outbreak of coronavirus.

Asked whether there could be a scaling back of services, Tony Hall said: "There could be - I hope there won't be."

Hall told MPs at a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the BBC are looking at how to ensure "we can keep broadcasting the information that the people need to have".

"We have to make sure our news services keep transmitting on television and on radio, and we are making sure we've got every eventuality covered," he said.

"You could imagine a local station or some other part of our news operation being out of action for a period."

"We are gaming out what happens if x% of the staff [caught coronavirus] or what happens if there was a case in one of our stations or newsrooms, what would we do and how we would cope with that?"

"At the moment we are intent on keeping absolutely everything open, all our networks going, because we know that globally, nationally and locally, people turn to us for information, as they did during the floods.

"[We want] to make sure we can keep going if for some reason there was illness within a team. We're not planning on anything other than keeping everything going at the moment, but we need to plot just in case something happens.

"The primary purpose is to keep our services going. If we were hit to a very high degree by sickness then our priority is to make sure we have a service people would turn to, and that that service would keep going."