The network announced its decision Friday, as the reality TV competition was filming its 33rd season. A CBS spokesperson told Variety that the shutdown was "temporary"; however, it's unclear when production is expected to resume.
"All contestants and production staff are in the process of returning home," the CBS representative said in a statement. "At this time, no Racers or anyone on the production team traveling with them have contracted the virus, or shown symptoms, and we are not aware of anyone being exposed to it. Out of an abundance of caution, everyone involved in the show will continue to be monitored when they return home. The health and well-being of the Racers and the production team are our top priorities."
Variety reports The Amazing Race was just two weeks into filming when CBS decided to suspend production. The competition series, which premiered in 2001, follows teams of two who race around the world for the chance to win $1 million. Contestants must go complete physical and mental challenges in various regions of the world.
Sources told the outlet that only three episodes, all of which were shot in the U.K., have been filmed for the upcoming season. According to the BBC, there were 23 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.K. as of Saturday.
More than 83,000 cases of the virus—also known as COVID-19—have been confirmed in more than 50 countries. There are now at least 66 confirmed cases of the disease in the U.S. Washington state officials announced Saturday that a patient who had contracted the virus succumbed to the disease in King County, marking the first coronavirus death within the states. Officials have not revealed any information about the deceased patient, but Donald Trump described the individual as a woman in her late 50s.
"Unfortunately one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s," Trump told reporters Saturday during a White House briefing. "Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover. If you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine."
In a subsequent press conference, Washington health officials confirmed the deceased patient was actually male.
More than 2,000 people have died from coronavirus since the outbreak emerged in December in Wuhan, China.