Pandemic forces Nobel Foundation to cancel live prize ceremony

FILE PHOTO: French economist Esther Duflo shakes hands with Sweden's King Carl Gustaf as she receives the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel during the Nobel Prize award ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden December 10, 2019. TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer via REUTERS/File Photo reuters_tickers
This content was published on September 22, 2020 - 14:56

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The winners of this year's Nobel Prizes will not get their medals and diplomas presented to them at Stockholm's concert hall as usual due to the coronavirus pandemic, the award organisers said on Tuesday.

The prizes, due to be announced next month, will instead be handed out during a televised ceremony in December with laureates receiving their awards in their own countries.

The Nobel Foundation had already cancelled the glittering banquet which marks the end of the annual festivities in December. It was the first time since 1956 that the banquet had been cancelled.

"We had decided already in spring that we would not have a traditional prize ceremony," Nobel Foundation Chairman Lars Heikensten told news agency TT. "But we wanted to wait over summer to see what would happen before we communicated that."

He said that each laureate would receive their prize either at a Swedish embassy or the institution where they work.

The ceremony for the high-profile Peace Prize takes place in Oslo as it is chosen by a Norwegian committee.

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.

More than 5,850 people in Sweden have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, far more in relation to the size of its population than in the rest of the Nordic region, though less than countries such as Britain and Spain.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams)

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