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Will Strictly Come Dancing increase testing after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden contracted Covid?

Strictly Come Dancing has faced calls to increase testing among the show’s stars after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden were forced to pull out of Saturday’s live show following a positive Covid test. 

The duo confirmed on Sunday that they were in isolation after testing positive, and there are now concerns around whether they could have spread the virus to other stars.

While it’s unclear whether bosses plan to heighten their already-stringent Covid measures, the news has faced backlash from some fans who claimed Tom and Amy have been given a ‘free pass’ to avoid the first elimination. 

Concerns: Strictly Come Dancing has faced calls to increase testing after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden were forced to pull out of Saturday’s live show following a positive Covid test

Already this year’s Strictly stars are subject to regular Covid tests, and are required to maintain social distancing at all times during filming.

The couples have formed Covid-safe bubbles for training and performances, but are prohibited from mixing.

Tom and Amy’s positive tests, a day after the first live show, has sparked questions around whether bosses will be increasing testing.

On Monday contestant Dan Walker admitted that ‘it could happen to any of the contestants at any time’ after Tom and Amy’s positive test.

Drama: The duo confirmed on Sunday that they were in isolation after testing positive, and there are now concerns around whether they could have spread the virus to other stars

Drama: The duo confirmed on Sunday that they were in isolation after testing positive, and there are now concerns around whether they could have spread the virus to other stars

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘Of all the places I’ve been in the last few months, Strictly is the strictest place in terms of following all those regulations.’

He added: ‘We’ve all accepted that it could happen to any of us at any time. We just follow the guidelines, we social distance and wear face coverings where you can, and basically the only time we’re not doing that is when we’re on the telly, isn’t it?’

Walker said he had spoken to Dowden at the weekend, adding: ‘I had a conversation with Amy on Saturday, but she was at one end of the flight of stairs, I was at the other one, you’re actively staying away from each other, that is the way it is.’

Axed: Last year Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were forced to pull out of the show after testing positive for Covid, because isolation rules meant they would have had to miss two live shows

Axed: Last year Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were forced to pull out of the show after testing positive for Covid, because isolation rules meant they would have had to miss two live shows

Fellow contestant Nina Wadia said: ‘We do stay in our pairs, because that’s the kind of safest bubble that you have.’

Despite the reassuring news that Tom and Amy will return to compete in the third live show after completing their isolation, many furious fans have taken to Twitter to question how they have been allowed to stay on the show.

Last year contestants Nicola Adams and Katya Jones were forced to pull out of the show after testing positive for Covid, because their isolation meant they would have had to miss two weeks of filming.

Annoyed: Some furious fans have taken to Twitter to question how Tom and Amy have been allowed to stay on the show after being a given a bye into next week's live show

Annoyed: Some furious fans have taken to Twitter to question how Tom and Amy have been allowed to stay on the show after being a given a bye into next week’s live show

One wrote: ‘Nicola being kicked off but Tom getting to stay another week doesn’t sit right with me.’

Another added: ‘Why was Nicola kicked off but Tom gets to stay despite both testing positive for Covid? Seems a bit unfair.’

A third agreed: ‘Last year Katya and Nicola was kicked off #Strictly so why doesn’t the same rules apply to Amy and Tom this year?’

This year the government’s Covid guidelines changed, meaning anyone who tests positive is only required to isolate for 10 days, and if Tom and Amy are double vaccinated they can end their isolating in eight days if they test negative for Covid. 

Thus some fans took to social media to defend bosses decision to keep Tom and Amy on the show, given they only need to miss one live show.

Clarifying: However some fans defended bosses' decision, insisting the government's Covid restrictions have changed since the last series

Clarifying: However some fans defended bosses’ decision, insisting the government’s Covid restrictions have changed since the last series

One wrote: ‘We’ve had a year in between and Covid rules have changed in the UK. Also there is now a vaccine, so the wider ground rules have changed.’

A second added: ‘It’s very simple. Last year, isolation had to be for 14 days, so a couple would have had to miss two weeks. Now it’s 10 days, so they only have to miss one, and #Strictly has always allowed a one week bye for injury/illness.’ 

On Sunday Tom responded to the diagnosis by pledging to return to the show ‘with something special’ when he and Amy have recovered.

McFly announced earlier that evening that Tom would be missing a show in Glasgow that evening because he was feeling unwell, before the BBC announced the positive result. 

Shock: On Sunday Tom responded to the diagnosis by pledging to return to the show 'with something special' when he and Amy have recovered

Shock: On Sunday Tom responded to the diagnosis by pledging to return to the show ‘with something special’ when he and Amy have recovered

Two out of an initial three unnamed professional dancers also remain unvaccinated, while a third is understood to have agreed to the jab amid mounting pressure from Strictly stars and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

A show spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines. 

‘While they will both miss Saturday’s live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, they will return the following week.’

In an Instagram post, Amy confirmed she does not have any symptoms of the virus at the moment. 

She wrote: ‘Unfortunately Tom and I have tested positive for Covid-19, I’m not suffering any symptoms but am now isolating at home.

‘I have no doubt that over the next 10 days my mind will be going crazy with choreography ideas ready to get back on the strictly dance floor for the live show in week 3! 

‘Thank you for all of the support and good luck to all of the couples this week. I will be cheering you all on!’ 

'My mind will be going crazy with choreography!': Amy took to Instagram to share the news

‘My mind will be going crazy with choreography!’: Amy took to Instagram to share the news

Hint: Tom promptly replied to the post with a firm indication that they will be back for week three

Hint: Tom promptly replied to the post with a firm indication that they will be back for week three

A spokesperson told MailOnline: 'Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines'

A spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines’ 

Masked up: The pair were seen on Saturday night leaving the BBC show in a taxi together, both wearing blue disposable masks

Masked up: The pair were seen on Saturday night leaving the BBC show in a taxi together, both wearing blue disposable masks

Tom promptly replied to the post with a firm indication that they will be back for week three. 

Commenting on the post, he wrote: ‘Rest up partner. We’ve got to pull something special out of the bag for week 3.’ 

The pair were seen leaving the BBC show on Saturday night in a taxi together, both wearing blue disposable masks. 

Other familiar faces were quick to comment on the post, with fellow professional dancer Oti Mabuse writing: ‘We love you can’t wait to see you soon.’  

While Strictly dancer Dianne Buswell wrote ‘Love you xxx see you back the d floor soon.’

Too sick: Tom was forced to pull out of a McFly show in Glasgow because he was feeling too unwell with the illness

Too sick: Tom was forced to pull out of a McFly show in Glasgow because he was feeling too unwell with the illness

It comes following reports that the Strictly pros who have refused to get the Covid vaccine are now hiring lawyers in an attempt to stop their identity being revealed.

The Mail On Sunday is thought to have discovered the names of two of the unvaccinated dancers, but opted against sharing them after being served with legal warnings.

According to The Times, the dancers are paying for their legal representation out of pocket, meaning licence fee payers won’t foot the bill.

The news comes after one of Strictly Come Dancing’s three unvaccinated professional dancers reportedly decided to have their jab. 

Speaking to The Sun, an insider revealed: ‘No-one told them they have to get jabbed but it was a decision they came to themselves and felt it was the best thing to do for everyone involved.’ 

The source continued: ‘The pro felt that the narrative had gotten out of control and wants to bring back the focus to the competition. 

Support: Many celebrities were quick to comment on Amy's post, with fellow professional dancer Oti Mabuse writing: 'We love you can't wait to see you soon'

Support: Many celebrities were quick to comment on Amy’s post, with fellow professional dancer Oti Mabuse writing: ‘We love you can’t wait to see you soon’

‘It was becoming a guessing game as to who had been vaxxed and who hasn’t where as the professional dancers’ main focus is the dance floor.’     

The jab row has threatened to overshadow the start of the 19th series, which began in earnest on Saturday as the 15 celebrities and their professional partners took to the dance floor for the first time.

Two out of the 18 professional dancers remain unvaccinated and in the run-up to the opening of the competition there was also a confirmed Covid case among the participants. 

Last year, Boxer Nicola Adams was forced to pull out of the competition after her partner Katya Jones tested positive for the virus. 

Katya was stunned to learn she tested positive as she didn’t display any symptoms, and was convinced she caught the virus in a sandwich shop after telling bosses she hasn’t been mixing with others as she lives alone. 

The protocol last year meant that if you contracted the virus then you had to pull out, forcing the pair to withdraw from the show. 

Nicola and Katya, who were the first all-female partnership on the show, were devastated at the time, and have since said that they believe their axing was unfair, and told on the television show Lorraine that there was ‘unfinished business.’  

Tom and Amy were the first to take the dance floor with an energetic Cha Cha to September by Earth, Wind & Fire, after squeezing rehearsals and training around the singer’s nationwide tour with McFly.

Setting the bar high, he was praised by the panel, who said he was ‘going to go far’ if he could improve his leg and foot action, and earned a score of 21 out of 40. 

Making his debut as an official judge on the panel for the first time, Anton Du Beke said: ‘All I can say is if touring isn’t enough, why don’t you come along and do strictly in the evenings, I thought it was a fabulous performance.

‘They say dancing starts from the ground up and your leg action was good, strengthen up your foot and leg action and I think that will see you all the way through.’

U-turn: One of Strictly Come Dancing's three unvaccinated professional dancers has reportedly decided to have their jab, leaving only two left to have their vaccine

U-turn: One of Strictly Come Dancing’s three unvaccinated professional dancers has reportedly decided to have their jab, leaving only two left to have their vaccine 

Tom previously revealed he was thrilled to have been partnered with Amy on the show. 

He said: ‘All I will say is this is the person I wanted the second I signed up. I couldn’t be happier to be dancing with her.’ 

He also admitted he’d been struggling with the show’s gruelling training regime.

Speaking about his ‘Strictly’ experience so far, he explained: ‘My body just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I need to be mindful of this and make sure I have enough in the tank each week to put in a good performance on a Saturday night.’ 

The musician revealed he’s been watching reruns of last year’s shows as part of his preparation.

Delighted: Tom previously revealed he was thrilled to have been partnered with Amy on the show

Delighted: Tom previously revealed he was thrilled to have been partnered with Amy on the show

He said: ‘I’m just trying to pick up some tips.’ 

Having suffered a coupling-up launch show low last week, with just over 7 million viewers, it seems fans were much more eager to watch the first run of live dances this weekend – bumping up to 8 million.

The BBC said an average audience of 7.9 million tuned in on Saturday night to watch the couples compete in front of the judges for the first time.

The celebrity dancing competition was watched by a peak audience of 8.4 million and had a 47.9 per cent audience share. 


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