Coronation Street and Emmerdale are two of the soaps that could come under threat from the coronavirus outbreak.
While the current amount of confirmed cases rests on 115 (as of Thursday 5th March), the risk of the number growing is considerably higher than previously thought, with the Prime Minister’s spokesperson telling press: “We will continue to try to contain this virus. However it’s now highly likely that the virus is going to spread in a significant way.
“Officials will therefore accelerate work on preparations for the delay phase of the government’s plan focusing on steps we can take to seek to delay the spread of the virus.
“This will include detailed work on the optimum time to introduce further measures.”
It’s currently not known what measures the government will take, but it had previously advised companies to formulate a draft plan on what they would do if the nation had to self-isolate – and not go to work (section 4.55 of the government’s plan to fight coronavirus).
Naturally, this would affect something like a soap, which is in continuous production all year round.
However, it seems there are contingency plans in place, at least according to ITV.
RadioTimes.com contacted representatives of ITV’s soaps who told us safety will always come first there.
They said: “Our priority is the well being and safety of all our colleagues and everyone who works with us on our shows and across our production. Clearly, along with everyone across the country, we are in a developing and dynamic situation with respect to the coronavirus, so we’re taking the appropriate steps.
“We’ve looked at our procedures and our established contingency plans and we’re confident that we’re able to continue with our filming schedule. In terms of our colleagues, our aim is to do everything we can to support anyone affected. We’re keeping a close eye on the situation and putting our people first.”
Numerous TV shows and films are already finding themselves at the mercy of coronavirus, with The Only Way Is Essex having their Tenerife plans cancelled as the cast have been ordered to stay at home, and the new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, was all set for an April release, but that’s been pushed back to November on account of the virus.
At the moment, the UK has no plans to quarantine its workforce, but with lengthy periods of self-isolation in China and Italy, the possibility can’t be ruled out.
The BBC declined to comment when approached by RadioTimes.com.