Nobel Prize banquet scheduled for December cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic
Stockholm - The traditional banquet held for Nobel laureates in the Swedish capital of Stockholm will be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, its organizers said on Tuesday.
The 10 December banquet in Stockholm City Hall traditionally follows the award ceremony when the laureates in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics receive a medal and a diploma.
Lars Heikensten, the outgoing head of the Nobel Foundation that manages the assets of Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, who created the awards, announced the cancellation in an interview with Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter.
"There are two problems. You can't gather so many people close to each other. And it is uncertain whether people can travel to Sweden to the extent they wish to," he said.
According to Heikensten, changes were also likely to be made to the award ceremony in Stockholm Concert Hall, but he did not provide any further details.
A spokeswoman for the foundation told dpa that the banquet had been cancelled in the past, including during the First and Second World Wars.
Nobel created the prizes, which are awarded in literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace and economics.
With the exception of economics, the prizes were endowed by Nobel, who lived from 1833 to 1896.
The Nobel awards are announced in October. The award ceremonies are held in Stockholm and Oslo on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death.
About 1,300 guests usually attend the banquet in Stockholm, including members of the royal family, diplomats, academics, politicians and leaders from the worlds of business and the arts.