I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! crew member tests COVID positive, triggers North Coast lockdown

The NSW North Coast lockdown that began yesterday was sparked by a positive COVID-19 case in a crew member who flew to Byron Bay to work on Network Ten’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

The Local Government Areas of Kempsey, Byron and Tweed were plunged into lockdown from 5pm on Tuesday, with NSW Health issuing stay-at-home orders after a single COVID-19 case was reported in Byron Bay.

The case travelled from Sydney, with a permit, having tested negative to COVID-19 before departing, but then tested positive after arriving in Ballina on Saturday morning.

Mumbrella understands the crew member was fully vaccinated and had not been working on the set or in the studio. As a result, the ongoing production of the program will not be impacted by the positive case.

I’m A Celebrity hosts Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris

The program is being produced in Northern NSW by ITV Studio Australia for Ten, and a spokesperson told Mumbrella production has been taking place “…in accordance with Public Health Orders and restrictions, as well as its own comprehensive CovidSAFE plan, which is consistent with Screen NSW’s guidelines for film and television production.

“We can confirm that one of our crew members has tested positive to COVID-19. This discovery was made through the rigorous testing regime implemented by our CovidSAFE plan. The crew member is fully vaccinated and was wearing PPE while at work.”

The spokesperson confirmed that all close contacts of the crew member have been identified and are “being tested and will isolate in accordance with NSW Health’s requirements. ITV is providing crew members with all the support and assistance possible.

“We are working with NSW Health to ensure all necessary steps are taken in relation to contact tracing, testing and further communication to anyone that needs to isolate.”

On Tuesday, NSW deputy chief health officer Dr Marianne Gayle expressed worry over multiple potential exposure sites. “The concern … is about a number of exposures in the Byron Bay area, a number of shops as well as some restaurants and pubs in the Tweed area as well.

“I urge residents of that northern NSW area and Byron Bay and Tweed LGAs, in particular, to have a look out for exposure venues that are listed.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed on Tuesday the positive case had not broken any rules. “Unfortunately we’ve had some cases in the northern part of the state, in Tweed, and Byron Bay and in Kempsey,” he said.

“And I certainly encourage everyone those areas, take it very seriously. So far those areas have been relatively safe, but we need the community to keep getting tested so that the public health team can be very, very certain of what we need to do at the expiration of those seven days.”

There are currently no other active cases in the LGAs in question, and Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon called the situation an “absolute joke”.

“I can not believe we’re in this situation, completely avoidable, again. [Potentially having] businesses shutting down again, school holidays ruined again, it beggars belief,” he said.

Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, said her residents are “sitting ducks” if restrictions are not tightened on who is allowed to travel to the region from Sydney.

“As Sydney opens up, we are sitting ducks until we get our vaccination rates where they need to be, and we have not had the supply so we are behind,” she said.

The 2021 season of the program was filmed in Australia for the first time due to COVID-related travel restrictions, after all previous seasons had been filmed in South Africa.


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