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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are believed to have contracted the coronavirus in the U.S., or in transit from there, according to officials from Queensland Health, the Australian government department overseeing the outbreak of the disease in that state.
On Thursday, a Queensland Health official, without specifically naming the couple, said that all new reported infections are non-contact cases and that the patients are believed to have “contracted the illness outside Australia and traveled to Queensland with the virus.”
Hanks and Wilson, both 63, had been in Australia for at least a week prior to their diagnosis. Hanks is down under for the production of Baz Luhrmann’s as-yet-untitled Elvis Presley movie for Warner Bros., while Wilson was accompanying him there and also performing concerts of songs from her new album Halfway to Home.
The married celebrity couple are two of seven new cases reported in Queensland on Thursday, among a total of over 130 cases across Australia.
The pair are in isolation for 14 days in a hospital on the Gold Coast. Hanks first confirmed the positive test for the virus in an Instagram post. They are also assisting Queensland Health with contact tracing. Details of their movements outside Australia have not yet been made public.
Hanks and Wilson posted a photo of themselves late Thursday, as they offered an update and thanked “everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us.” “We are taking it one-day-at-a-time. There are thing we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no?”
Hanks then finished his statement by making a reference to his 1992 film A League of Their Own. “Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball.”
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) March 13, 2020
According to their sons Chet and Colin, Hanks and Wilson are doing well, but their quarantine period has forced production to shut down for at least two weeks on Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic, in which Hanks was due to play Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.
It’s unclear how many of the cast and crew have been in contact with Hanks since their return to Queensland from the U.S. recently, but all production personnel have been sent home and are awaiting instructions.
Local news outlets report that Luhrmann issued a statement to cast and crew requesting they stay home and that “all work activity on the production is cancelled and will not resume until further notice”.
Principal photography was due to start on the film, which has a release date of Oct. 2021, next Monday.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Thursday that “people who have come in close contact with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson will now need to self-isolate and quarantine.”
“I have been in contact with Baz Luhrmann quite often today and he has said to me that he wants to pass on to everyone that we stand with the people of Queensland in making sure we comply with any restrictions and of course that we want to see a speedy recovery,” Palaszczuk added.
“The filming has been going extremely well on the Gold Coast and of course there will be a halt to some of the filming at the moment whilst Tom and Rita get the very best care that they will get in our Queensland hospital,” she said.
Since Hanks and Wilson’s arrival in Australia, Wilson has made several public appearances. She was a guest on the Nine Network’s Today Extra talk show in Sydney on March 9, and earlier performed at the Emporium Hotel in Brisbane on March 5 and at the Sydney Opera House on March 7.
Today Extra show host David Campbell has self-isolated for 14 days following Wilson’s diagnosis. Channel Nine confirmed it had taken action “in line with our crisis response plan” after the Wilson visit.
“Those who were in prolonged contact with her are self-isolating for 14 days,” a statement from Nine said. “Our premises is currently being cleaned in all areas she visited,” it added.
The Elvis biopic is based at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast and is the only production working at the studios at present. A Village Roadshow spokesman told THR the studios and Village Roadshow theme parks adjacent to the studios are still operating and open as normal. The company said it is following Queensland Health and Australian government health guidelines.
Several other international productions are currently shooting in Australia, including Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. So far, no other film shoots in the country are known to have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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