Bollywood star Akshay Kumar tests positive as India's coronavirus surge worsens

Published April 4, 2021
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar said on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest Indian celebrity to contract the virus as the vast nation battles a new wave of cases. — Reuters/ File
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar said on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest Indian celebrity to contract the virus as the vast nation battles a new wave of cases. — Reuters/ File

Bollywood star Akshay Kumar said on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest Indian celebrity to contract the virus as the vast nation battles a new wave of cases.

India reported 93,249 new daily infections on Sunday, according to health ministry data, the highest increase since September, taking the total known cases to almost 12.5 million.

“I wish to inform everyone that, earlier this morning, I have tested positive for Covid-19,” the 53-year-old actor tweeted.

Kumar said last year that he drinks cow urine daily to stay healthy — a practice some Hindus believe has medical benefits, including against the coronavirus.

He tweeted that he is now under home quarantine and has “sought necessary medical care”.

Saturday also saw Indian spin star Axar Patel announce he had tested positive and was in isolation ahead of the start of the lucrative Twenty20 Indian Premier League tournament.

The news came just a day after Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said he had been hospitalised as a precautionary measure after testing positive a week earlier.

Single-day infections in the nation of 1.3 billion have been rising since early February when they fell to below 9,000 after peaking at almost 100,000 in September.

Experts have warned that infections are increasing at a faster pace in India, which has the world's third-highest number of cases after the US and Brazil, compared to last year.

Lockdown warning

Maharashtra, where the country's financial capital Mumbai is located, has been the worst-hit state or territory in recent weeks.

The megacity of 20 million people saw its highest single-day spike on Saturday with 9,090 fresh cases.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray tweeted Friday that “if things do not improve visibly in a couple of days and if no other solution is found, we will have to announce another lockdown like it is being done globally”.

Ahead of Sunday's figures, India had recorded more than 456,000 cases in the last seven days — an increase of 37 percent compared to the previous week, according to an AFP database.

Brazil recorded over 505,000 cases for the same period but with a decreasing trend from the previous week, and the US reported 451,000 infections.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, authorities said a seven-day lockdown would be imposed from Monday, with all domestic travel services including flights suspended, and malls and shops shut.

Banks would be allowed to open for just 2.5 hours on weekdays, while public and private sector businesses were told to only have a skeleton crew in their offices.

“The corona(virus) infections are spreading fast. The infection and death rates are jumping,” Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader said in a video message late Saturday.

“In view of the prevailing situation, the Sheikh Hasina government has decided to enforce a lockdown across the country for seven days starting from Monday.” The nation of 168 million people has been grappling with a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks.

Health authorities reported 7,087 new cases on Sunday — the highest since the start of the pandemic — taking the infection toll to just under 640,000.

Opinion

Wit and wisdom
Updated 14 Apr 2021

Wit and wisdom

Warmth and gregariousness came naturally to him.

Editorial

TLP protests
Updated 14 Apr 2021

TLP protests

For the good of the country, and its image as a nation where extremism has no place, such groups must be strictly reined in.
14 Apr 2021

PPP’s formal exit

THE PPP’s formal resignation from all offices of the PDM comes as no surprise after weeks of tension and public...
14 Apr 2021

Natanz attack

AS the P5+1 and Iran try to breathe life back into the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is officially known, it appears...
Reform after Daska
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Reform after Daska

Electoral malpractice generates instability and delegitimises the mandate of the winner, triggering one crisis after another.
13 Apr 2021

Reinstating LGs

THE PTI government in Punjab is sending confused and conflicting signals to people when it comes to the critical...
13 Apr 2021

Remembering I.A. Rehman

THE quest for a progressive society in Pakistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours, suffered a big setback in...