Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks – who fell ill with COVID-19 early in the pandemic – has urged people to wear masks to help slow the spread of the deadly virus.
“Wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance. If you can’t do that, I don’t have much respect for you,” Hanks told Reuters TV.
“Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together.”
Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were both diagnosed with the virus while he was on the Gold Coast filming Baz Luhrman’s unnamed Elvis Presley biopic.
The infection struck just as the 63-year-old Hanks was about to begin filming.
“We were tested on a Tuesday; we were in isolation on a Wednesday and we were supposed to start shooting the following Monday so we barely missed our start date but I guess it was probably better not to start and then have to shut down,” Hanks told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The couple was briefly hospitalised on the Gold Coast but both have since fully recovered.
After two weeks quarantining in Queensland, they returned home to the US – but not without showing a little love and appreciation for Australia.
Hanks said he was keen to return to Australia to continue filming, but he’s not sure when it will be possible.
Our borders are closed to international guests, with only citizens, residents and immediate family allowed in.
“There are dates on the calendar that say maybe we will be making this movie in October, but all of that stuff is a ‘maybe’ as questions about quarantine and temperatures and sterilising soundstages and all of that go on,” he told the SMH.
Masks have become an increasingly political issue in the US as the coronavirus has ravaged the country. President Donald Trump has been vocal about not wearing them, although last week he conceded that he had been – and he rather liked the effect.
“I thought it was OK. It was a dark black mask, and I thought it looked OK,” he said.
“It looked like the Lone Ranger,” he continued, a reference to the fictional law-and-order character from the American Old West.
Hanks, meanwhile, has also donated plasma at least twice, in the hope it will help others fighting COVID-19. Researchers are studying plasma from people who have had the virus in the hope it can be given to people with severe COVID-19.