The Masked Singer Australia studio will undergo a deep clean after seven dancers tested positive to coronavirus.
The reality TV series suspended filming on Saturday in response to an outbreak, with the show’s stars, including judges Dannii Minogue and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, and 200 workers ordered into self-isolation.
Host Osher Günsberg is also self-isolating, as is the show’s production team.
Health authorities gathered at the studio in Melbourne’s Dockland’s on Sunday as a COVID-testing site was established.
The COVID-19 bombshell came on the night of the show’s grand final being filmed, however, sources told Sydney Morning Herald that producers expect the episode to broadcast as scheduled.
‘We were fortunate to have already filmed all the episodes except the finale,’ a Network 10 spokeswoman told the publication.
The show’s set is in Melbourne, which is at the centre of Australia’s second wave of coronavirus.
Contract tracing is underway as authorities scramble to determine the cause of the outbreak.
The Masked Singer was allowed to continue filming under state government regulations as it had commenced production prior to Victoria’s Stage four lockdown.
Gunsberg, who also hosts 10’s Bachelor franchise must complete two weeks in isolation. Network sources said it would not be affected as the show films several weeks in advance.
He will be required to pass medical tests in coming weeks upon returning to NSW, where he will commence filming for an upcoming season in Sydney.
Hughes, who also co-anchors national drive show Hughesy & Ed, has been given special equipment to broadcast in isolation.
The same allowance has been granted to Jackie O to continue presenting Kiis FM’s Sydney breakfast show with Kyle Sandiland.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was not his decision to grant an exemption for the show to continue filming.
‘They’re not decisions initially made by me. What I would say though is that there are some productions that if they weren’t to continue, then the whole thing would basically fall over and would be lost to Victoria,’ he said.
‘It’s done on a case-by-case basis and it’s always done with a COVID-safe plan.
The production is understood to have had a COVID-19 safety plan in place, which includes daily temperature checks and written health declarations upon arrival and departure from the studio.
Other measures included special bins for the disposal of mandatory face masks, strict hygiene protocols, a special safety induction for all staff, and a dedicated COVID-19 manager.
Mr Andrews said The Masked Singer contagion proves how businesses with a COVID-19 safety plan can still be susceptible to an outbreak.
‘I’m not pleased to make the point, but it does make the point that this is a widely infectious virus and even if you’ve got the very best processes in place you’ll see positive cases,’ he said.
Filming for the show’s second season was moved to Melbourne due to limited capacity at Sydney’s Fox studio.
Network Ten said in a statement on Saturday that the entire production team is being monitored closely and are in constant contact with medical authorities.
‘Network 10 is working closely with the Victorian Government and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Network 10 is providing all crew with all the support and assistance possible.’
‘The health and safety of the community, and our staff and production partners is our number one priority.
‘The entire production team, including the masked singers, the host and panellists are now in self-isolation. They are all being monitored closely and are in constant contact with medical authorities.
One dancer came to the set ill on Friday and was told by producers to go home before testing positive to coronavirus, the Sunday Herald Sun reported.
Another six dancers who were in close contact also reportedly tested positive.
With no studio audience this season because of coronavirus, the show has instead used dancers to perform in the forefront as the stars perform.
The Docklands studio was also set to be used by Channel Nine this week.
Victoria recorded another 208 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, and 17 more deaths.
The national death toll is now 502.
The Masked Singer is Channel Ten’s addictive series that sees the judges and the public at home taking wild guesses at the identities behind the masks.
So far, the stars that have been unmasked are Mark Philippoussis as The Echidna, Michael Bevan as Hammerhead, Christine Anu as Goldfish and Katie Noonan as The Sloth.
Still to have their identities revealed are Dragonfly, Frillneck, Wizard, Cactus, Queen, Bushranger, Puppet and Kitten.