Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted COVID-19 overseas and brought the virus into Australia, health authorities say, before potentially exposing hundreds of fans they came into contact with.
The Hollywood power couple, who shook hands and posed for selfies with adoring locals across Australia’s east coast, announced their diagnosis on Thursday, just over a week after touching down in Brisbane.
‘Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches,’ Hanks wrote.
‘We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?’
Hanks and Wilson, both 63, are in a stable conditions at Gold Coast University Hospital, where they will spend the next 14 days in quarantine.
Queensland Health authorities are now scrambling to trace people from Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast who may have been exposed to the virus by the couple.
Queensland Health officials said all seven new cases reported in the state on Thursday – including Hanks and Wilson – ‘contracted the illness outside Australia and travelled to Queensland with the virus’.
The Forrest Gump actor is in Australia to film an untitled Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis Presley movie produced by Warner Bros, while his singer-songwriter wife tours the country.
Hanks landed in Sydney on January 26, Australia Day, before heading to rural New South Wales on February 2.
While out of the city, Hanks was snapped with a fan at Mavis’s Kitchen at Mt Warning, in the Northern Rivers region of the state.