Today show quarantines 20 staff after Rita Wilson visit

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Karl and Ally address Rita Wilson's visit to Today. Photo: Channel Nine

The Today show has had to quarantine 20 staff members, after it was revealed Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Rita had appeared on Today Extra on Monday for an interview with hosts Belinda Russell and David Campbell, where she also performed at the network's studio in North Sydney.

Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon addressed the situation on Friday morning, revealing the news had been a shock to everyone at Channel Nine and 20 staff had been sent home.

“Because we just spent a couple of hours with her on Monday. She was on the Today Extra program but had a lot of time here,” Karl said.

“Effectively what they do is track Rita's movements back first of all to her dressing-room, how many people she came in contact with her here.”

Ally went on to add the network was also forced to buy new furniture in a bid to stop the spread of the illness.

“They've come in [to the dressing room] as a consequence of what happened and replaced all the furniture,” she said.

Tracy Grimshaw self-isolates as coronavirus 'crisis' hits Nine

Tracey Grimshaw will take a break from A Current Affair at Nine enacts its crisis plan. photo: Nine

It comes after the Nine Network revealed yesterday it was enacting a crisis response plan to a coronavirus incident that will see many familiar faces stepping back from our screens, not least among them A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw.

“Nine today [Thursday] has taken action in line with our crisis response plan around a visit to our studio by Ms Rita Wilson on Monday this week, for an appearance on Today Extra with David Campbell and Belinda Russell,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Those who were in prolonged contact with Ms Wilson have been tested and are self-isolating for 14 days.”

David and Belinda interviewed Rita on Monday. Photo: Instagram/davidcampbell73

The ACA host did not appear on the program on Thursday evening as part of the measures, instead Karl hosted in her place.

Nine says their actions are in line with health authorities’ guidelines on dealing with coronavirus infection.

“Our premises is currently being thoroughly cleaned in all areas she visited and we are encouraging our employees to monitor their health and practise good hygiene,” they said.

Belinda and David have been contacted for comment.

Ripples as Hanks confirmed coronavirus case

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson confirmed they have been infected with coronavirus. Photo: Getty Images

Nine’s woes are the latest collateral to emerge from the Hollywood couple’s explosive announcement this week.

Earlier, a fan who snapped a selfie with Hanks two weeks ago on the Gold Coast confirmed he would be pursuing testing for the virus.

The couple have been in Australia since January, with Tom working on Baz Luhrmann’s as yet unnamed Elvis Presley movie and Rita performing on stage.

Production on the Luhrmann film has been suspended until further notice.

Concerns have been raised about infections after photos show the 63-year-old singer performing to an ‘intimate’ sold-out crowd at Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel on South Bank last week, on March 5th.

Her 63-year-old husband, Tom and their son, Truman are believed to have been in attendance. 

Tom is the first celebrity confirmed to have the highly contagious virus that has snowballed into a global pandemic, with the actor confirming the news in a statement on Wednesday.

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