July 13, 2020 / 10:44 AM / a month ago

Fans in India pray for Bollywood's Bachchans to recover from COVID-19

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Fans across India prayed on Monday for Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and others members of his movie star family who have fallen sick with the coronavirus as the one-day rise in infections hit a new record without any sign of a peak.

Artists create paintings depicting Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan, his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and his granddaughter Aaradhya, after they tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India, July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Bachchan, 77, and his son, Abhishek, remained in hospital in Mumbai while daughter-in-law and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and his eight-year-old granddaughter, who also tested positive were at home, quarantined.

The Bachchans are the highest-profile Indians to have contracted the virus, which is spreading faster after a months-long lockdown was eased at the end of May to revive a battered economy.

Special Hindu rituals were performed in temples all over India by fans praying for the recovery of an actor adored and respected for a career spanning decades.

“It feels like not only Amitabh Bachchan has fallen sick, but an entire generation has become sick,” Vijay Patodia, a member of the All Bengal Amitabh Bachchan Fans’ Association, told Reuters in a temple in the eastern city of Kolkata.

A spokeswoman for Nanavati hospital where the father and son are admitted declined any comment, saying the family will provide updates. Bachchan is a prolific Twitter user and had announced his illness on Saturday after he was admitted to hospital.

“Hope he, @juniorbachchan & his family recover from #Covid_19 very soon & released from hospital,” @jaikukki tweeted from the United States, along with a video of Bachchan singing a popular hymn.

There was no update from the family or hospital by mid-afternoon on Monday, but health officials had said on Sunday the father and son were stable.

Some people, however, said the Bachchans were privileged to have got top-class treatment immediately while many others struggled with a shortage of hospital beds, medics and medicines in major cities.

“Without any malice for them, and hoping that they get well soon, this only makes many wonder how easily they got beds while regular common ppl are struggling,” tweeted @rajneilkamath, a factchecker.

India, along with the United States and Brazil, tops the global caseload of infections. It declared an early lockdown of its 1.3 billion people in March but it has not been able to flatten the curve yet.

Cases of COVID-19 shot past 878,000 with a record 28,701 new infections reported on Monday, even as parts of the country went into fresh lockdowns.

India appears to have fared far better than many places in terms of the ratio of deaths to cases, with the official toll put at 23,174, but some independent observers believe the figures are unreliable as people who die with symptoms are not counted as victims unless they have been tested.

Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani & Simon Cameron-Moore

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