Nine faces new coronavirus scare after Dutton visit
Channel Nine is facing another coronavirus scare following news Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, a regular guest on the Today show, has tested positive.
Dutton released a statement on Friday announcing the diagnosis, explaining that he'd woken up that morning with "a temperature and sore throat".
"I immediately contacted the Queensland Department of Health and was subsequently tested for COVID-19," he said.
"I was advised by Queensland Health this afternoon (Friday) that the test had returned positive."
Experts claim that a person with coronavirus can be infected for up to 14 days before displaying any symptoms, meaning that Dutton may have been contagious when he appeared on the Today show alongside Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on February 28.
He was due to make his regular appearance again yesterday but was absent, with the hosts saying he was sick with a "stomach bug".
It comes just days after several Nine staff members, including Today Extra hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell, were sent home to self-isolate after coronavirus-infected Rita Wilson visited the studio.
Campbell and Russell interviewed the Hollywood star on Monday, just days before she and husband Tom Hanks were diagnosed with the virus.
Hanks revealed they'd both tested positive during their stay in Australia, where he's been filming an Elvis biopic on the Gold Coast, in an Instagram post on Thursday.
It prompted a swift response from Nine, who sent home up to 20 staff members in accordance with health guidelines.
"Nine today 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 Nine spokesman said.
"Our actions are in line with the guidelines set out by the Government and Health Authorities. "Those who were in prolonged contact with Ms Wilson have been tested and are self-isolating for 14 days.
"Our premises is currently being thoroughly cleaned in all areas she visited and we are encouraging our employees to monitor their health and practice good hygiene."
Meanwhile, speaking to Deborah Knight on 2GB shortly after news broke of Wilson's illness today, Campbell said the star had been "cautious" during their meeting.
"She came into the Today Extra studios on Monday and she was delightful and really nice and she didn't have any symptoms of anything. She was cautious. She actually made a joke coming into the studios, saying we shouldn't shake hands, we should bump elbows. So we bumped elbows."
On Friday, Hanks shared a selfie of the pair in isolation and provided an update on their condition.
"Hello folks. Rita Wilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us," he wrote on Twitter.
"We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness.
"We are taking it one-day-at-a-time. There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no?"
He finished up with a cheeky reference to his hit 1992 film, A League of Their Own.
"Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx."