“We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!”
Chet Hanks, the couple’s son, said on social media his parents are doing well despite their diagnosis: “They both are fine, they’re not even that sick.”
But as the numbers of those diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in Australia reached at least 128 with 78 confirmed in NSW, posts to the couple’s social media feeds over the past week have raised questions about the possible spread of the virus.
Worldwide the number diagnosed has reached more than 126,000 with at least 4600 deaths.
Hanks and Wilson slipped into Sydney ahead of Wilson’s show on Saturday night at the Opera House. Hanks was in the Utzon Room with around 200 others watching Wilson perform songs from her recently released fourth album, Halfway to Home.
She sipped from a tea cup throughout and attendees were heard noting her voice sounding raspy towards the end. After her 70-minute show, including a three-song encore, she lingered with her band and management for an hour before posing for a photo on the Opera House forecourt which she posted to Instagram.
The Opera House said it remains open and tours and performances are proceeding as planned, noting that it would contact patrons and staff who may have been in contact with the couple.
On Sunday, the couple was videoed walking along the Bondi Beach promenade before dining in a restaurant overlooking the beach.
That night they dined at Justin Hemmes’ Merivale institution Mr Wong. A diner Val Flores was celebrating a birthday with friends and posted to Facebook a selfie with Hanks. She updated her feed yesterday with an all clear, saying she had no symptoms.
A spokeswoman for Merivale said the restaurant identified “all staff that were within one metre of Mr Hanks and his party.
“They are all in self-isolation and will be tested as the medical professionals deem appropriate,” she said, adding they “will not be back at work until we and they believe that it is appropriate”.
By Monday morning, Wilson was in Willoughby at the Nine Network’s studios where she was interviewed by hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell, posing for a photo. Following the diagnosis on Thursday, the Nine pair was sent home for isolation.
Hanks and Wilson were next photographed on a harbour cruise before heading to the Gold Coast where they were reportedly staying at Peppers on Broadbeach for Hanks to attend the Village Roadshow Studios.
Fans have also posted selfies with the Hollywood star in a bar on the Gold Coast and embracing him on a beach.
The implications of Hanks testing positive are potentially significant with the likelihood production will be forced into shutdown for up to two weeks, adding significantly to production costs.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said last May the film was expected to employ 900 people in set construction, catering and costume design roles, while injecting $105 million into the economy.
On Thursday, a number of crew confirmed all production personnel had been sent home, awaiting further instructions.
Ms Palaszczuk said health authorities were working with the pair, Luhrmann and “all the cast and crew”. She said “those people who have been in … close proximity” with Hanks or Wilson would be expected to self-isolate.
Nine management, however, is taking no risks, with Campbell and Russell sent to self-isolation for 14 days.
“Those who were in prolonged contact with Ms Wilson have been tested and are self-isolating for 14 days,” Nine, publisher of the Herald and Age, said. “Our premises is currently being thoroughly cleaned in all areas she visited and we are encouraging our employees to monitor their health and practise good hygiene.”
A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw did not appear on Thursday night “as a precautionary measure since she had minor surgery last week”.
Michael Evans is Investigations Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Karl Quinn is a senior culture writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Nigel Gladstone is an investigative journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.