Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan hospitalized with coronavirus

Entertainment

NEW DELHI (AP) — Amitabh Bachchan has tested positive for the coronavirus and is hospitalized in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, the Bollywood superstar announced Saturday on Twitter.

Bachchan, 77, said in a tweet on Saturday that his family and staff have also undergone tests and are awaiting results. He appealed to those who were in close proximity to him in the past 10 days to get themselves tested.

The elder Bachchan has acted in more than 200 Indian films over the past five decades. He is also a former politician and a television host.

The Bachchans are often called Bollywood’s first family. His wife, Jaya, is also an actress and a one-time member of Parliament. Their son, Abhishek, and daughter-in-law, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are Bollywood superstars as well.

Abhishek Bachchan, who is 44, tweeted Saturday night that he also has tested positive for COVID-19 and is hospitalized.

“Both of us having mild symptoms have been admitted to the hospital,” he wrote. “I request all to stay calm and not panic.”

The elder Bachchan’s breakthrough performance came in the 1973 film “Zanjeer” or “The Chain” and he rose to superstardom playing bold characters, inspiring fans to copy his hairstyle, clothes and deep voice.

He briefly entered politics in 1985 but resigned his seat in Parliament mid-term when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s administration became ensnared in corruption.

Bachchan returned to film in the 1990s and made a rare Hollywood film appearance in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version of “The Great Gatsby.”

He embraced social media, engaging with fans using Twitter and Tumblr and served as host of “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.”

In 2015, the actor revealed that he had been treated for Hepatitis B for more than two decades and lost more than 75% of his liver to the disease.

Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Bangalore are among the Indian cities worst hit by the coronavirus.

On Saturday, India’s coronavirus caseload crossed 800,000 with the biggest spike of 27,114 cases reported in the past 24 hours. The new confirmed cases took the national total to 820,916. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The Health Ministry also reported another 519 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 22,123.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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