Covid: I'm A Celebrity crew member blamed for sending thousands of Australians into lockdown

The make-up artists was allowed to travel to Australia as she was going for work. Credit: ITV

An I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! crew member who tested positive for coronavirus has been blamed for sending thousands of Australians into lockdown.

On Saturday, the 31-year-old make-up artist flew to Ballina in New South Wales from Sydney to work on the Australian version of the reality TV programme.

She had an exemption that permitted her to travel for work-related purposes only, according to ABC News.

The woman, who has not been identified, reportedly visited a number of locations in the state over the weekend, including shops and restaurants in Byron Bay and Kingscliff without checking in using her QR code.

She later tested positive for the virus, triggering a seven-day lockdown of the wider Tweed and Byron Shires, with some 135,000 forced to live under stringent curbs.

Queensland's border has closed to the affected areas.

ITV, which makes the programme, told ITV News that any close contacts of the crew member were isolated and immediately tested, and that all rapid and PCR tests taken by crew members have returned a negative result.

A spokesperson said: "As has been reported, an I’m A Celebrity crew member tested positive for Covid-19." "ITV are disappointed and sympathetic to the impact this has had on the region. " The woman has been charged with multiple breaches of public health orders, with police saying her activities in Byron Bay and Kingscliff breached the conditions of her work-related travel exemption.

Sydney is still under lockdown, so those who have travelled from there are required to stay at home when they are not working.

A woman crosses a normally busy street in Sydney. Credit: AP

The positive Covid result has raised questions over the filming of shows.

Michael Lyon, the mayor of Byron Shire, said he was looking into rescinding permission for the reality TV show Love Island- also produced by ITV- to be filmed in the area.

Adding to the chorus of criticism, Catherine Cusack, a Liberal member of the NSW upper house, called on Brad Hazzard, the state health minister, to resign over the incident.

The Australian version of I'm a Celebrity is usually filmed in South Africa but has swapped locations to Australia due to coronavirus travel restrictions. The UK version, meanwhile, is to be filmed in Wales for the second successive series.

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