Nobel Prize ceremonies to be toned down for the second year due to COVID-19, says foundation

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Stockholm: The Nobel Prize ceremonies will be reined in and scaled-down for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation behind the coveted prizes said Thursday.

The winners of this year's prizes in chemistry, literature, physics, medicine and economics, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, are set to be announced between 4 October and 11 October.

"It is now also clear that this year's Nobel festivities in December ˆ' when the laureates are honored in Stockholm and Oslo ˆ' will be a mixture of digital and physical events," the Nobel Foundation said.

The laureates will receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas in their home countries, the foundation said. It said the presentation events will be woven together with an awards ceremony at Stockholm City Hall on 10 December, which is the anniversary of the death of prize founder Albert Nobel. The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, because Nobel wanted it that way for reasons he kept to himself.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is keeping open the possibility of welcoming the Nobel Peace Prize winner or winners to Oslo, the foundation said. The committee plans to announce the format of its festivities in mid-October.

"I think everybody would like the COVID-19 pandemic to be over, but we are not there yet," Nobel Foundation Executive Director Vidar Helgesen said in a statement. "Uncertainty about the course of the pandemic and international travel possibilities is the reason why the 2021 laureates will receive their medals and diplomas in their home countries."

Helgesen said the foundation is "looking forward to reaching even more people around the world by using new formats and digital solutions."

"It is clear that in Stockholm and Sweden, there will be less attention around the award ceremony and banquet, but globally we try to arrange a really nice celebration of the award winners," he was quoted as saying by Swedish news agency TT.

The pandemic curtailed the celebrations to honor the 12 laureates named in 2020. No formal banquet was held to honor the winners. Instead, their achievements were recognized and rewarded at low-key ceremonies in Europe and the United States.

Looking at last year's events, "some of the digital production gained greater global reach than we have seen before," Helgensen told TT.

A Nobel Prize comes with a 10-milion krona ($1.15 million) cash award €" to be shared in some cases €" diplomas and gold medals.

The six awards are handed out by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Academy and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

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