After Akshay Kumar, 45 Ram Setu crew members test positive for COVID-19, shoot halted

The shooting of Akshay Kumar-starrer Ram Setu has been halted after the actor and 45 members of the crew tested positive for the coronavirus. While most of the crew members who tested positive are junior artists, some members of Akshay's team have also tested positive.

A day after Akshay Kumar tested positive for the coronavirus, it has been confirmed that 45 crew members on Ram Setu sets have also tested positive for COVID-19. The tests were mandatory as the shoot of the film was set to begin at a new location in Mumbai from Monday. While more than 100 people were tested as a precautionary measure, results of 45 people came positive. The shoot has now been halted. The news comes amid surging number of COVID-19 cases in the state, which forced the state government to introduce more stringent measures to control the spread.

Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) president B N Tiwari confirming the news to indianexpress.com. “It’s quite unfortunate that so many people tested positive at one go. While most were junior artists, a few from Akshay Kumar’s team also tested positive for COVID-19. They have all been quarantined and provided medical attention. With Akshay also in quarantine, the shoot has been suspended as of now,” he said.

On Sunday, the Bollywood star shared his health update on social media. Sharing that he has quarantined himself at home, Akshay Kumar wrote, “I wish to inform everyone that earlier this morning I tested positive for Covid-19. Following all the protocols, I have immediately isolated myself. I’m under home quarantine and have sought necessary medical care. I would sincerely request all those that have come in contact with me to get themselves tested and take care. Back in action soon.”

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Directed by Abhishek Sharma, Ram Setu also stars Jacqueline Fernandez and Nushrratt Bharuccha. The film is being bankrolled by Cape of Good Films, Abundantia Entertainment, Lyca Films, and Amazon Prime Video. After a mahurat shoot in Ayodhya, Ram Setu started filming from March 30 in Mumbai.

Maharashtra, in the last few days has been reeling under a severe crisis with the coronavirus numbers rising. On Sunday, it recorded 57,074 cases, its highest from last year. In order to break the chain, the state government has announced fresh restrictions, including a weekend lockdown. While film and TV units have been allowed to continue shoot over the weekend, the government has asked production team to work with only 33 per cent crew members with due safety norms in place. They have also been told not to shoot big dance and fight scenes.

The Maharashtra government in its new guidelines has also asked that starting April 10, cast and crew will have to carry a negative RT-PCR certificate before they come to shoot, which would be valid for 15 days. Apart from that, it has also encouraged the creation of a quarantine bubble for artists and staff.

Talking about the new norms, FWICE’s B N Tiwari added, “It’s important to keep everyone safe at the moment and we are gearing up to implement the new rules by the government. If needed, we might implement a no shoot during weekend lockdown. We will be soon talking to producers on how we can continue work, while not letting our guard down. We will also be reaching out to the state government to have a vaccination centre in Film City so that most workers can access the benefit. Also, the test costs needs to be brought down so that most people can be tested regularly. Last year has been really tough for the junior artists and other daily wagers, and thus it’s important that a balance be created where they can be safe and yet earn for their families.”

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