I'm a Celebrity staff member's Covid breach sends 135,000 Australians into seven-day lockdown

·2 min read
Scenes at Wategos Beach in Byron Bay which has returned to lockdown - JASON O'BRIEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Scenes at Wategos Beach in Byron Bay which has returned to lockdown - JASON O'BRIEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Australian police have charged a crew member of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! with breaching public health orders after she tested positive for Covid-19 and sparked a lockdown in parts of New South Wales.

The 31-year-old woman from Sydney flew into Ballina, northern NSW last weekend to work as a make-up artist on the popular reality television programme.

She carried an exemption to travel for work-related purposes only, but ended up visiting shops, cafes and restaurants in Byron Bay and on the Tweed Coast at Kingscliff and Casuarina Beach, according to local officials working on test-and-trace.

The ABC reported that the Kingscliff Beach Hotel was the location for an unofficial crew get-together on Sunday after final filming on the ITV Studios Australia production.

She subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, triggering a seven-day lockdown on Tuesday afternoon in the Tweed and Byron shires, which are home to around 135,000 people.

To prevent any further transmission, neighbouring state Queensland reintroduced strict border restrictions at 1am on Wednesday.

Police allege the make-up artist was in breach of the conditions of her exemption to travel by visiting several businesses and venues for leisure.

They say she also failed to check in using the QR codes, which help contact tracers alert people to potential exposure sites.

ITV issued a statement on Tuesday confirming that “one of our crew members has tested positive to Covid-19”.

“This discovery was made through the rigorous testing regime implemented by our CovidSAFE plan… The crew member is fully vaccinated and was wearing PPE while at work," it said.

"All close contacts of the crew member from within the ITV production have been identified… They are being tested and will isolate in accordance with NSW Health's requirements."

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