SBS staffer tests positive to coronavirus

By Paige Murphy | 24 March 2020

SBS has temporarily closed its newsroom in Sydney after a staff member tested positive to coronavirus.

The employee was last in the office on March 20.

In a statement, SBS says that the health and safety of its employees remains "top priority" and as a result social distancing measures have also been implemented by the broadcaster.

SBS has notified everyone who came into close contact with the person and asked them to self-isolate.

The statement says will continue a more "comprehensive tracing exercise".

"There is no impact for SBS employees outside of Sydney’s newsroom. SBS is strictly complying with health and safety advice and protocols in response to this matter.

"While the newsroom has been thoroughly cleaned a number of times since Friday, SBS has closed the area immediately for additional sanitisation, and all staff working in that area have gone home.

"The newsroom is expected to reopen tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March.

"As an essential service, particularly during this time, SBS will continue its news operations.

"We have comprehensive business continuity plans, our technology and resources are in place to ensure employees can work flexibly, where feasible. This evening’s SBS World News bulletin will be broadcast but in a different format."

SBS is the latest broadcaster to shut its doors temporarily as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Australia.

Australia’s television industry has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many many shows to halt production.

Over the last couple of weeks, Ten has had to postpone filming Australian Survivor due to travel restrictions and also take a short break from filming Neighbours after a casual staff member on set tested positive to the virus.

The network has also paused production for season two of Five Bedrooms due to logistic challenges.

A number of shows on Seven have been impacted, with Big Brother, Holey Moley, SAS: Who Dares Wins and Back to the Rafters all postponed. Big Brother has since resumed filming.

Seven’s long-running Home & Away has also paused production, while the AFL has been suspended until May 31 following the decision by some states to effectively close their borders.

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