The Block Australia has become the latest television project to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, Channel Nine announced filming of the forthcoming season has been suspended in Melbourne due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, a spokesman confirmed that all teams were sent home due to increasing travel bans, border shutdowns and safety concerns.
The statement read: ‘The current production of The Block brought five teams from across Australia to Melbourne to compete in its 16th season.’
‘Due to increasing travel bans, border shutdowns and additional measures, The Block has made the decision to suspend filming and send contestants home, while it is still possible to do so.’
The spokesperson added that professional tradespeople were still working at the site in Brighton, Melbourne.
On Thursday, all production crew and participants were nowhere to be seen as a small amount of construction workers went about their business.
What was apparent, was the amount of signs around the site urging employees to practice good hygiene.
One poster even urged crew and construction workers to use the provided hand sanitiser at every entrance point to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Aside from contestants, The Block employs many tradespeople and freelancers, who rely on income earned from the TV show for a living.
In photos obtained by Daily Mail Australia earlier this year, five houses dating from the 1930s to 1960s could be seen on the building site.
Last year, it was reported that some elderly residents near the site were ‘selling their homes’ amid fears the show would ‘ruin’ their quiet street.
The Andrina Nursing Home was based at the address until 2014, before it was knocked down with developers hoping to build 13 luxury townhouses.
After these plans eventually fell through and the site was left empty for years, Nine’s MicJoy Pty Ltd purchased the spot in April 2019 for $14.96million.
According to Domain, the company’s application mentioned ‘relocating five homes to the site’ – similar to the show’s 2017 season in Elsternwick.
As of late Thursday evening, there are 2,806 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia. The virus has resulted in 13 deaths.
The Block is scheduled to air on Channel Nine later this year.