image captionThe Masked Singer, a hit show in the US (pictured), launched in Australia last year
Production of the Australian version of hit reality TV show The Masked Singer has been suspended after several crew members tested positive for Covid-19.
The entire production team, including the masked celebrity singers, the host and the judges, are now in self-isolation, the show announced.
The show is filmed in Melbourne which has been at the centre of a spike in coronavirus infections.
Residents across the state of Victoria are subject to strict lockdown rules.
These include a night-time curfew, the closure of restaurants and gyms, only one hour of outdoor exercise a day, no travel further than 5km (three miles) from home, and only one person per household allowed to shop for essentials at a time.
The production of The Masked Singer had been allowed to continue despite the restrictions because news and media outlets are considered essential services.
The show announced its immediate suspension in a tweet on Sunday, saying “the health and safety of the community, and our staff and production partners is our number one priority”.
The production team put into isolation include the show’s host Osher Gunsberg and judges including singer Dannii Minogue and comedian Dave Hughes. They are “being monitored closely and are in constant contact with medical authorities”, the show said.
Victoria’s health department said investigations had “determined that the site should close” and that it was working to ensure that “all appropriate public health actions are taken including cleaning and contact tracing”.
The reality TV show began in South Korea before being franchised in other Asian countries and later the US, UK and Australia. It features celebrities who sing in elaborate costumes and whose identities are not revealed until they are voted off.
Former tennis star Mark Philippoussis was the first contestant to be eliminated from the latest Australian season on Tuesday.
He said the on-set health and safety measures had been “intense” but necessary. “Everyone was always wearing a face mask and there was hand sanitiser everywhere,” he was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.