Bollywood star hospitalized with Covid-19 as pandemic sweeps through industry

Indian actor Akshay Kumar has become the latest top Bollywood star to test positive for Covid-19, as India’s second wave of coronavirus infections tears through its film industry.

Kumar, one of Bollywood’s most profitable actors and the star of dozens of popular movies, tweeted Monday that he had been hospitalized “as a precautionary measure under medical advice.”

He confirmed his positive results a day earlier, saying he had “immediately isolated” himself, asking those he had come into contact with to get tested.

He joins a number of Indian stars to have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, with coronavirus infections mounting in the country.

Leading Bollywood director and Oscar-nominated producer Aamir Khan confirmed last month that he had contracted the virus, and actor Ranbir Kapoor has also tested positive.

Kapoor is the son of actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, and the grandson of actor-director Raj Kapoor. His mother confirmed his test on March 9, telling fans he “is on medication and recovering well. He is in self quarantine at home and following all precautions.”

Last week, Kapoor’s girlfriend Alia Bhatt announced in an Instagram story that she had also tested positive. On Monday, she posted a photo of herself on Instagram recovering with the caption “one day at a time,” garnering messages from her fans and fellow actors.

Covid-19 has hit the Bollywood industry before. Last year, Amitabh Bachchan — one of India’s most famous stars — was among a number of actors to test positive and spend time in hospital.

Infections in the country are again at the level seen during that initial wave, forcing the capital New Delhi and its surrounding region to enter a nightly curfew on Tuesday.

Other well-known names that have tested positive in recent weeks include the south Indian actor R Madhavan and Vicky Kaushal, whose work includes the Netflix films “Love per Square Foot” and “Lust Stories.”

India’s Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, is located in the financial capital of Mumbai in western Maharashtra state, which has contributed to more than half of the new Covid cases reported in the country. The state has also enforced weekend lockdowns and night curfews.

India reported 96,982 new cases on Tuesday, taking the total case count above 12.6 million since the pandemic began, according to official figures.

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