Entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins has spoken of the ‘bizarre’ nature of his coronavirus diagnosis after he came into contact with Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson.
Channel Nine on Sunday evening confirmed the presenter, 65, who briefly met Wilson during her visit to the network’s studios, tested positive.
Wilson and her husband, actor Tom Hanks, tested positive for COVID-19 on the Gold Coast on Thursday.
Wilkins’ diagnosis came as the coronavirus death toll jumped to five on Sunday and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced all people coming to Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days from Monday, with fines and even jail time for those who don’t comply.
Public schools are also cancelling all assemblies, excursions and sports carnivals from Monday onwards.
Mr Morrison stopped short of closing the school themselves, but a senior government source said Australia was now ‘effectively on a war footing’.
Wilkins spoke about the ‘bizarre feeling’ of catching the virus despite showing no effects from it in a Twitter post late on Sunday night.
Entertainment reporter Wilkins shared this photo of him and Rita Wilson after she performed at the Sydney Opera House last Saturday. He has now tested positive for the coronavirus – a diagnosis he described as ‘bizarre’
Wilkins spoke about the ‘bizarre feeling’ of catching the illness despite showing no effects from it in a Twitter post late on Sunday night
‘Hey ….sincere thanks for all the messages…I really appreciate it,’ he said.
‘It’s actually a bizarre feeling to have tested positive to this thing we’ve all been talking about.
‘I feel 100% …no symptoms at all! Thanks again ….love to all RW xx’
On Friday, Wilkins told The Australian he had separated from dancer Virginia Burmeister ‘some time ago’.
His son Christian Wilkins also addressed the diagnosis on Sunday evening.
‘I was not aware of my Dad’s positive diagnosis for the coronavirus,’ he said, before confirming he would be getting tested himself for the virus on Monday morning.
Wilson and her husband, actor Tom Hanks, (pictured together) tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on the Gold Coast on Thursday
Today show weatherman Tim Davies will also be self-isolating as he will be returning to Australian soil after the government’s new isolation rule for international travellers kicks in
The announcement came as the coronavirus death toll jumped to five in Australia on Sunday, with almost 300 cases confirmed
Negative: Channel Nine reported Today Extra hosts Belinda Russell (right) and David Campbell (left) have tested negative
AUSTRALIA’S COVID-19 DEATH TOLL HITS FIVE
Australia’s death toll from the coronavirus has risen to five as health authorities confirm the deaths of two people in NSW.
It comes as all people coming to Australia from midnight on Sunday will have to self-isolate for 14 days, while cruise ships will be banned from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days.
A 90-year-old woman died on Saturday and testing confirmed that she had COVID-19, NSW Health said in a statement on Sunday night.
She was a resident of the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged care home, where two other residents have died after becoming infected with the virus.
A 77-year-old woman has also died from coronavirus, NSW Health said on Sunday.
The woman flew from Brisbane to Sydney on Friday, a Queensland Health spokesman said
Today show weatherman Tim Davies will also be self-isolating when he returns to Australia on Monday – the day the government’s new rule for travellers kicks in.
Wilkins had been awaiting results after being in contact with singer Rita Wilson during her visit to Channel Nine’s Willoughby studios on Monday.
Today Extra hosts Belinda Russell and David Campbell have tested negative.
Wilkins had been in contact with singer Rita Wilson (right) during her visit to Channel Nine’s Willoughby studios on Monday
Those who were in close contact with him were in isolation, Channel Nine reported.
‘Richard Wilkins has tested positive to COVID-19,’ a spokesperson for the network said.
‘Richard is not showing any symptoms of the virus and has been self-isolating, on his own at home, since Thursday last week.
Just days before the confirmation of his diagnosis, Wilkins had told The Australian’s Media Diary he had separated from dancer Virginia Burmeister (pictured together) ‘some time ago’
‘Since he is still without symptoms the authorities advise that he has not knowingly put others at risk, although anyone he has been in contact with prior to Thursday afternoon has been notified and will be tested if they show any symptoms of the virus.
‘We want to assure everyone that Richard is feeling well and still without symptoms.’
Wilkins was in the company of Olivia Newton-John, 71, and Paul Hogan, 80, five days ago.
Wilkins wrote on social media last Sunday about his interactions with the singer and wife of Hollywood actor Tom Hanks
‘THIS THING IS BIGGER THAN RUGBY LEAGUE’: NRL STAR CALLS FOR SEASON TO BE SUSPENDED
Cameron Smith has called for the NRL to be suspended for a few weeks, claiming he and his Melbourne teammates are concerned for their families’ health.
The NRL is planning to continue on into round two next weekend in front of empty stadiums, as it battles with how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Melbourne are due to host Cronulla on Saturday night at Kogarah, after sweeping aside Manly 18-4 on Sunday at Lottoland.
But the game’s biggest name does not believe the show should go on, claiming he is speaking on behalf of his Storm teammates when calling for the competition to be stopped.
‘This thing is bigger than rugby league,’ Smith said.
‘This affects more than just rugby league and rugby league players … after finishing these matches on weekends, we go back to our families.
‘There are several players in our squad who are going back to their families who have newborn babies.
It is unknown if the singer or the actor are in isolation or have undergone testing after their close contact with the reporter.
Wilkins had spoken on social media about his interaction with Wilson, sharing a photo of the two of them last Sunday after she performed at the Sydney Opera House.
Nine confirmed Wilkins was being tested last Thursday, with a statement at the time explaining: ‘Richard is in the very low risk category as he briefly spoke to Rita Wilson, but has been tested and is currently off while waiting for results. We are hoping he is on air this weekend.’
People over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.
Close: Wilkins was awaiting results after being in contact with singer Rita Wilson (pictured) during her visit to Nine’s Willoughby studios on Monday
Measures: The report revealed that those who were in close contact with him were in isolation
Contact: Wilkins was in the company of Olivia Newton-John, 71, (centre) and Paul Hogan, 80, (right) five days ago
Rita had appeared as a guest on morning show Today Extra last Monday.
She was interviewed by Campbell and Russell, and also performed live.
Campbell told 2GB’s Afternoons with Deborah Knight on Thursday: ‘I interviewed her on Monday, Deb. 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.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 298
New South Wales: 134
South Australia: 20
Western Australia: 18
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 1
TOTAL CASES: 298
‘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.’
He added that he was feeling ‘perfectly fine’ and wasn’t too concerned about the risk because he’d only spent ‘seven or eight minutes’ with Rita.
During her visit to Channel Nine’s headquarters, Rita used the dressing room of A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw.
As a precaution, Grimshaw was advised not to host ACA on Thursday night.
Tom Hanks revealed on Instagram on Thursday that he and his wife experienced symptoms including the common cold, body aches and chills before they decided to get tested.
He wrote: ‘Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. 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.
‘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.
Safety first: During her visit to Channel Nine’s headquarters, Rita used the dressing room of A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw (pictured). As a precaution, Tracy was advised not to host ACA on Thursday night as she had recently undergone ‘minor surgery’
He wrote: ‘Rita had some chills. 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’
Moving around: Tom and Rita have visited several cities in Australia this month, making stops in Sydney and Brisbane while being based primarily on the Gold Coast. Pictured: Rita outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday
VIRUS FEARS CLOSE VICTORIA’S MUSEUMS
Victoria’s museums and art galleries will be closed indefinitely in an effort to contain the coronavirus and protect those most at risk.
The Arts Centre Melbourne, Geelong Arts Centre, Melbourne Recital Centre, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria and State Library of Victoria will all be closed from Monday.
‘It is my deep belief that the gallery is a place for everyone and when we reopen we will ensure that the gallery continues to be a welcoming and inspiring place for the community,’ NGV director Tony Ellwood said in a statement on Sunday night.
‘In the meantime, we will do our best to offer the community access to the State NGV Collection virtually, much of which is available online, where our audiences can still benefit from one of the world’s best collections of art and design.’
Mr Ellwood said both NGV International and NGV Australia will reopen on April 13.
Museums Victoria earlier made the decision to temporarily close all its public sites, including Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, Immigration Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building, effective immediately.
‘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!’
Hanks had arrived in Australia on January 26 to begin pre-production on a Baz Luhrmann-directed film about Elvis Presley in which he plays Presley’s longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
He and Rita have visited several east coast cities this month, making stops in Sydney and Brisbane while being based primarily on the Gold Coast.
Symptoms of the virus include a fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath
The couple are currently being treated at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Queensland.
Mr Morrison announced on Sunday that from midnight all people coming to Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
The prime minister also announced cruise ships will be banned from docking in Australian ports for at least 30 days.
It follows the number of confirmed cases in Australia climbing to almost 300.
‘This is very important. What we have seen in recent weeks is more countries having issues with the virus and that means that the source of some of those transitions are coming – transmissions are coming from those countries,’ he said.
Penalties for not self-isolating will be determined by states and territories.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that from midnight all people coming to Australia will have to self-isolate for 14 days
Social distancing measures are also now required, Mr Morrison said.
Australians should stay at least 1.5m away from each other and stop shaking hands as part of the measures – although he admitted they were common-sense based rules.
A senior government source told The Australian on the eve of the new measures being enforced the country was ‘effectively on a war footing’.
From Monday, gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned.
Limitations on large gatherings in enclosed areas such as theatres are expected to be made later in the week.
Empty shelves pictured at a Coles supermarket in Waterloo in southern Sydney. The supermarket has brought in new restrictions for items including mince and flour and paper towels
Mr Morrison said the measures were to restrict social interactions and lower the risk of widespread outbreak.
‘There will be no more handshakes… which was something that was not needed a few weeks ago. It is a precautionary step,’ he said.
‘There will be further intrusions and there will be further restrictions on peoples movements.’
Coles has meanwhile stepped up restrictions on its products to include limits on mince as supermarket shelves in Australia are stripped bare amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The new restrictions on the meat were announced by the supermarket giant on Sunday afternoon to combat panic-buying as the disease spreads globally.
It follows limits being extended beyond toilet paper on Friday to items including flour, paper towels and paper tissues.