EASTENDERS has stopped filming and is cutting down to showing two episodes a week amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Episodes will air on Monday and Tuesday, halving its regular run with Thursday and Friday showings removed from the telly schedule.
A statement from the soap reads: “In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, it has been decided that filming on EastEnders will be postponed until further notice.
"The decision was made after the latest government update. We will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England.
"We have also taken the decision to reduce the amount of episodes we broadcast each week to two, so that we can ensure the audience can continue to enjoy EastEnders in their homes for as long as possible.”
EastEnders will now air on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7.30pm with immediate effect.
Production on the show will continue, with writers penning future storylines despite the temporary halt to filming.
It comes after reports Coronation Street could be 'forced down to two episodes a week' because of coronavirus.
The pandemic is currently gripping the nation and ITV bosses have held talks about how to cope with it and keep the shows on our screens.
Both soaps air six times a week and are shot a number of weeks in advance, but bosses are working to put a plan in place in case cast members get struck down by the sickness.
One option would be to reduce the number of episodes being screened each week to ration out the episodes already in the can until the crisis eases.
One Coronation Street cast member has already self-isolated over virus fears after returning from holiday earlier this month.
However, the unnamed actor has since been cleared to return to filming on the Cobbles.
A show insider told The Mirror: "The rationing of episodes is a sensible bet.
"But the bigger problems would come if they can’t get people behind, or in front of the camera to make new ones.
"If that was the case for an extended period they’d simply run out of episodes.
“That is an eventuality no one wants but is something that could happen.”
However a representative for both soaps previously told The Sun Online: "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."
Bosses also said the health and wellbeing of cast and crew is paramount.
The statement added: "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."
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