The Bachelor EXCLUSIVE: The sacrifice Irena Srbinovska made during ‘Love In Lockdown’ episodes

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Melbourne-based nurse Irena Srbinovska has long been the odds favourite to win Bachelor Locklan ‘Locky’ Gilbert’s heart.

But Irena’s incredible sacrifice to return to work helping patients suffering with coronavirus in March almost cut her reality TV journey abruptly short.

An inside source claimed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday that Irena’s tough decision to fight the virus from the frontlines came with strict conditions.

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The Bachelor EXCLUSIVE: The incredible sacrifice Irena Srbinovska (pictured) made during 'Love In Lockdown' episodes - and the painful goodbye with Locky Gilbert that NEVER aired

The Bachelor EXCLUSIVE: The incredible sacrifice Irena Srbinovska (pictured) made during ‘Love In Lockdown’ episodes – and the painful goodbye with Locky Gilbert that NEVER aired

Filming of The Bachelor was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ‘Love in Lockdown’ episodes were filmed via Zoom while the remaining girls were isolating in various locations.

Irena, who works as an anaesthetic and recovery nurse, addressed returning to work in March at a Melbourne hospital to New Idea.

‘My heart was torn – a part of me was selfishly devastated that the show was stopping, but then the other half of me was so eager to get back home and fight COVID,’ she told the publication last month. 

However, a source has since told Daily Mail Australia that Irena, 31, was forced to forfeit her right to return to the show if she contracted the virus.

‘She was told that if she went back to work and contracted COVID then she wouldn’t be allowed to resume the show. It was a tough decision for her to make, but she felt guilty sitting around at home for a TV show when her coworkers were so busy.’     

'If she went back to work and contracted COVID then she wasn't allowed to resume the show': An inside source claimed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday that Irena's tough decision to fight the virus from the frontlines as a nurse almost cut her love journey short. Pictured in 2013

 ‘If she went back to work and contracted COVID then she wasn’t allowed to resume the show’: An inside source claimed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday that Irena’s tough decision to fight the virus from the frontlines as a nurse almost cut her love journey short. Pictured in 2013

'Locky (pictured) was worried that she might not return to the show': It's believed Irena and Locky had a painful goodbye before Irena flew back to Melbourne in March

‘Locky (pictured) was worried that she might not return to the show’: It’s believed Irena and Locky had a painful goodbye before Irena flew back to Melbourne in March

The source added that Irena had a painful goodbye with Locky before making her final decision, but it wasn’t aired on the popular TV program.

‘Locky knew how important it was for Irena to go back to work, but he was also worried that she might not return to the show,’ they said.

‘What people don’t know is that Irena actually cut her annual leave short to resume working at the hospital – she’s very dedicated.’

Irena’s return to work as a nurse has not once been mentioned or shown during the Bachelor’s ‘Love in Lockdown’ episodes. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment. 

'My heart was torn - a part of me was selfishly devastated that the show was stopping, but then the other half of me was so eager to get back home and fight COVID': Irena, who works as an anaesthetic and recovery nurse, addressed returning to work in March to New Idea

‘My heart was torn – a part of me was selfishly devastated that the show was stopping, but then the other half of me was so eager to get back home and fight COVID’: Irena, who works as an anaesthetic and recovery nurse, addressed returning to work in March to New Idea

Irena is one of the rumoured finalists in the pursuit of Locky’s heart on the eighth season of The Bachelor, closely followed by friend and rival Bella Varelis.

This week, Bella appears to declare her friendship with Irena is ‘over’ as they get closer to the grand final.

The Bachelor continues Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10  

Tune in: This week Bella Varelis (left) appears to declare her friendship with Irena (right) is 'over' as they get closer to the grand final

Tune in: This week Bella Varelis (left) appears to declare her friendship with Irena (right) is ‘over’ as they get closer to the grand final 

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