Pandemic sees Nobel banquet cancelled for first time since 1956: DN

FILE PHOTO: Nobel Foundation CEO Lars Heikensten pose for a picture at the foundation's headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Esha Vaish/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Fears over the coronavirus will see the Nobel prize banquet cancelled for the first time in over half a century, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported on Tuesday.

Nobel Prize winners for 2020 will be announced but the banquet, which is always held on December 10 and normally draws around 1,300 guests, will not go ahead.

 “There are two problems. You can not gather that many people next to each other. And it is uncertain whether people can travel to Sweden to the extent they want,” Nobel Foundation Chairman Lars Heikensten told Dagens Nyheter.

The last time the banquet was cancelled was in 1956, in protest at the Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary. It was also cancelled during World War One and Two.

The Nobel foundation was not immediately available for comment.

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created and funded in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.