Virus fears rip through Channel 9


Several Channel 9 staff members have been sent home after coronavirus-infected Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson visited the Today Extra set earlier this week.

Today Extra host David Campbell is among staff members who have reportedly been ordered to self-isolate, and will not appear on air tomorrow.

A Nine spokesperson said A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw was not hosting tonight as a precautionary measure after she had minor surgery last week, with Karl Stefanovic to host instead.

Deborah Knight reported on 2GB this afternoon that Wilson had her hair and makeup done in the same room Grimshaw uses as her dressing room.

The spokesperson added arrangements for hosts for Today Extra were still being confirmed.

"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 spokesperson 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."





Tracy Grimshaw has reportedly been sent home from work. Picture: Jerad Williams
Tracy Grimshaw has reportedly been sent home from work. Picture: Jerad Williams

It comes as Hanks announced he and his wife had tested postitive for coronavirus during their stay in Australia, where Hanks is filming an Elvis biopic on the Gold Coast.

Mathew Woolfrey, who is an entertainment contributor at Nine, told Knight he had shaken hands with Wilson on Monday and has since been sent home.

Wilson appeared as a guest on Nine's Today Extra program on Monday - just days before she and Hanks were diagnosed with coronavirus.

It was the most recent in a string of public appearances for Wilson, 63, during the A-list couple's visit down under.

A singer-songwriter who recently released her fourth album, Rita performed in an intimate space at the Sydney Opera House on March 7 and earlier at the Emporium Hotel in Brisbane's South Bank on March 5.


Rita Wilson appears on Today.
Rita Wilson appears on Today.

Wilson performed live during Monday's episode of Today Extra, also joining hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell for a seven-and-a-half-minute chat at the desk. understands Hanks was also present on set.

"We're beside ourselves, because she's right beside us!" said Russell, welcoming Wilson to the program.

During the chat, Wilson said she'd enjoyed interacting with her audiences at the shows and visiting Australia for the first time: "This is my first time in Australia and my first time in Sydney," she said.


Wilson with Today Extra hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell.
Wilson with Today Extra hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell.

It is unknown whether Wilson was infectious at the time.

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."

Hanks today made the announcement in a post on Instagram that he and his wife had been diagnosed with the virus that has today been declared a global pandemic.

"Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia," he wrote.

"We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive."


Rita Wilson appears on Today.
Rita Wilson appears on Today.


"Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks' will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We'll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!"