Long-running Australian TV soap opera Neighbours will not film this week as a precaution in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been reported that a person working on the show had come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
The cast and crew of the show, filmed in Melbourne, met on Wednesday. The show’s parent companies Network Ten and Fremantle have opted to take a break until Monday to adapt the production model for the drama to withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Production will resume on Monday as planned with no interruption to the on-air or delivery schedule. The health and well-being of everyone on the set of Neighbours will always be our priority,” a spokeswoman said.
The long-running show has been celebrating its 35 years on air this week, with the wedding of five couples on the show through the week.
“Forget about toilet paper and stock up on tissues, because with this many white dresses and hearfelt declarations of love, there won’t be a dry eye in the house. We’re not crying, you’re crying,” the Network Ten promo said.
Other sets that have confirmed to have shut down in Australia since the coronavirus pandemic include The Voice, Clickbait, Australia’s Got Talent, and The Power of the Dog.
Screen Producers Australia has called on the film industry in Australia to go public with how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting their business.
“Ours is a powerful and enduring industry that has had the resilience to weather many storms. This being said, Covid-19 represents a unique threat to our businesses and workers on a scale we have not faced in living memory – physical production is not a job that can be done from home,” CEO Matthew Deaner said.
“While we have issued advice to our members on pragmatic steps to take for health and safety on set and in regards to business continuity planning and insurance, we appreciate that it may simply not be possible to say ‘the show must go on’ at this point.”
The organisation is calling for government support for the 30,000 full-time roles in the sector.
The state of Victoria, where Neighbours is filmed, has had 121 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 27 new cases announced on Wednesday.
New restrictions will come into effect from tomorrow across Australia banning gatherings of 100 people or more indoors, and 500 people or more outdoors, with limited exceptions.
In Victoria, the state government announced anyone breaking the rule will face fines of up to $20,000 for individuals, and $100,000 for venues.