Ant and Dec to take regular COVID tests as part of 'I'm A Celeb' coronavirus management plan
Ant and Dec will be tested for COVID-19 every three days for I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! under strict new rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Geordie hosts, along with the rest of the contestants and crew, will also wear “proximity buzzers” to remind them not to get too close to other people.
ITV’s independent chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield told The Guardian: “Those involved in I’m A Celebrity are used to working safely in extreme and difficult environments.
“The procedures and protocols developed aim to provide defence in depth against the coronavirus, applying industry best practice while always adhering to government and local guidelines.”
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The show – usually filmed in the Australian national park – will take place at Gwrych Castle in north Wales for this series, and the production team has been halved, with many of the team working remotely. The editing will be done in London.
The set will be closed to visitors, with limited access to Ant and Dec and the contestants – who this year include Olympic athlete Sir Mo Farah, TV presenter Vernon Kay and 63-year-old Corrie star Beverley Callard.
Usually contestants are greeted by their families as they are evicted from the camp, but this looks unlikely to happen.
ITV has already confirmed that one of the line-up – believed to be Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard – has tested positive for COVID-19, although it isn’t clear whether that will delay them in joining the contest.
There will be doctors on set at all times to ensure safety, and one of the toughest challenges the celebs could face this year will be the freezing temperatures.
Regular hand-washing will be mandatory and crew members must wear masks when away from their desks, which are all set up facing away from one another and distanced two metres apart.
All of the crew will have to take a COVID test twice a week and self-isolate if they test positive.
The celebrities – who also include vlogger Giovanna Fletcher, actor Shane Richie, journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, Paralympic athlete Hollie Arnold, soap actor Jessica Plummer and Radio 1 DJ Jordan North – have been self-isolating for two weeks ahead of the launch on Sunday, when they will form a bubble.
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Ant and Dec formed their own social bubble during the first lockdown, allowing them to continue filming Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent.
ITV Studios director of entertainment Richard Cowles said: “Everyone on the production team has worked incredibly hard to bring I’m A Celebrity to Wales and a massive part of making that possible has been developing our protocols around COVID... to keep everyone connected with the production, both in front of and behind the camera, as safe as possible.”
This is the first time the reality show has not been filmed in Australia, where the celebs usually shower in a waterfall and are subjected to challenges involving jungle critters such as snakes and exotic spiders.
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