Corona clusters have been forming in the glittering realm of showbiz, with several actors from Bollywood and the television industry, their family and staff testing positive.
After the news of Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek being hospitalised on Saturday, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and granddaughter Aaradhya also tested positive on Sunday, as did four members of actor Anupam Kher’s family, including his mother and brother.
In both instances, celebrities took to Twitter to confirm the information. The news of detection of these starry clusters at the Bachchan and Kher households has rung alarm bells for many in their fraternity, who have already started or were planning to get back to work under Mission Begin Again.
Bachchan, 77, has been at the forefront of raising awareness about Covid-19 for a while. In March, he had shot a public service video announcement about measures to curb the spread of the virus. In April, he also featured in a short film along the same lines. In May, he shot promos for the next season of Kaun Banega Crorepati at his residence.
Late on July 11, Bachchan, 77, confirmed he had tested positive for Covid-19 and soon after, his son and actor Abhishek, 44, tweeted about his own positive test. The duo is under treatment at Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, with mild symptoms, hospital representatives confirmed.
On Sunday morning, civic officials and doctors reached Jalsa and collected swab samples from the rest of the Bachchans - Jaya Bachchan, 72, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, 46, Aishwarya’s daughter, Aaradhya, 8. While their rapid antigen test report was negative, the swabs samples of Aishwarya and Aaradhya tested positive. However, Jaya tested negative, as did her daughter Shweta Nanda and grandchildren Agastya and Navya Naveli.
Municipal authorities immediately sent out four teams to sanitise the four Bachchan bungalows: Jalsa, Janak, Prateeksha and Vatsa.
Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner, K (west) ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said, “All four bungalows of the Bachchan family have been sanitised, sealed and declared as containment zones. We are conducting contact tracing among all staff members, and till now, 30 people have been identified as high-risk contacts. We are screening and testing them."
According to BMC officials, Aishwarya and Aaradhya’s swab samples were collected on Saturday, for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, results for which were positive on Sunday. Since Jaya has tested negative, she will be retested later, to rule out a false negative.
"When Aishwarya and Aaradhya tested negative in rapid antigen tests yesterday (Sunday), their swab samples for the RT-PCR test were obtained. On Sunday, these samples were reported positive. Just like the RT-PCR, the rapid antigen test detects the presence of molecular pathogens of coronavirus in people. But unlike RT-PCR results which take almost eight hours, the rapid antigen test reports are available within 30 minutes. The antigen-based test uses nasal swabs. According to the protocol, every positive report from the rapid antigen testing is treated as ‘true positive’. However, negative samples are mandatorily re-tested with RT-PCR," said a senior BMC official.
We have collected swab samples of all high-risk contacts. Apart from them, many others were screened too. Their reports will come tomorrow (Monday). As Aishwarya and Aaradhya are both asymptomatic, BMC will take a written declaration from them if they want to undergo treatment at home. Or else, they will also be shifted to hospital,” Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani told The Free Press Journal.
After Abhishek tested positive, the 'Kai Po Che' fame actor Amit Sadh, who had dubbed with him for their recently released web series called 'Breathe - Into the Shadow' did a “precautionary” Covid-19 test on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, actor Anupam Kher revealed that his mother Dulari had tested positive for Covid-19 and has mild symptoms. He added that while he had tested negative, his brother Raju, sister-in-law and niece, had tested positive. Dulari has been admitted to the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri west while Kher’s brother and his family are self-quarantined at their Residence.
On July 7, veteran actress Rekha’s security guard had tested positive for Covid-19 and has been quarantined at a civic isolation facility in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, while other staff members at her bungalow were tested and her bungalow Sea Springs in Bandra was declared a containment zone.
Meanwhile, Hema Malini and Ranbir Kapoor’s family have refuted rumours, saying they were fine.
Esha Deol tweeted that her mother Hema Malini, was fine. ”The news regarding her health is fake so please don’t react to such rumours” she tweeted.
Neetu Singh’s daughter, Riddhima Kapoor Sahni too said they were fine. She tweeted, “Attention seeking ??? Least verify/ clarify! We are fit We are good! Stop spreading rumours! #lunatics.”
Kasautii Zindagii Kay' actor Parth Samthaan too tweeted on Sunday to confirm that he had tested positive for Covid-19, and is also self-quarantining at home. Shooting for his show has been halted and will not resume for a few days, said sources. On June 27, Samthaan had resumed shooting.