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Bollywood stars diagnosed with COVID-19 as WHO registers record global cases

Bollywood actors are treated like royalty in India, but the country has learned in the past few days that they are not immune to COVID-19.

The coronavirus outbreak sweeping the country, where nearly 850,000 cases have been confirmed, saw three generations of a famed Bollywood family succumbing to the virus over the weekend.

Amitabh Bachchan, one of India’s best known film stars, was confirmed to have COVID-19 along with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Bachchan’s son Abhishek, also an actor, said in a tweet on Saturday that he and his father tested positive for the virus, and were admitted to a hospital despite only showing mild symptoms.

Abhishek Bachchan said his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss World, and their eight-year-old daughter had also been infected and will be self-quarantining at home.

Indian film actors Abhishek Bachchan, his wife Aishwarya Rai and their daughter Aaradhya in Mumbai, India on March 9, 2019.Francis Mascarenhas / Reuters file

“The rest of the family including my mother have tested negative,” Bachchan said, thanking fans for their wishes and prayers.

“Everyone please remain cautious and safe. Please follow all rules!” he added in another tweet.

Amitabh Bachchan, 77, has been a prominent figure in India's fight against the coronavirus, appearing in public service advertisements, urging people to wear masks, wash hands frequently and maintain social distance.

India saw 28,637 new infections on Sunday, a new record of daily infections for the country, according to a tally by the World Health Organization (WHO). It has the world’s third biggest tally of cases behind the U.S. and Brazil.

The country's 1.3 billion people went into lockdown in March, but India's government eased restrictions in early June to jump-start the economy, which has been crippled by the pandemic. However, flare-ups of the virus have forced some areas to re-impose restrictions.

So far, 23,174 people died of COVID-19 in India, according to the country's health ministry.

Emergency paramedics wearing full COVID-19 coronavirus personal protective equipment carry a patient from an ambulance at a hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Friday, July 10. Marco Longari / AFP - Getty Images

On Sunday, the WHO reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to WHO’s daily report.

The previous record for new cases was 228,186 on Friday, according to the WHO tally.

The number of coronavirus cases globally approached 13 million on Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with the number of deaths worldwide nearing 570,000.

South Africa announced it will reimpose a ban on the sale of alcohol and a nighttime curfew to reduce pressure on its hospitals as coronavirus infections rise rapidly, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

The country registered 13,497 new cases on Sunday, bringing its total to 264,184, the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa.

Ramaphosa’s government imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in late March and delayed a surge in infections, but it has since eased many restrictions over fears for its struggling economy.

“The coronavirus storm is far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known,” he said in a televised address, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia, which has managed to weather the pandemic so far, is facing a growing cluster of cases at a pub used by freight drivers travelling the country adding to fears of a second wave of the virus.

The new cases come after neighboring Victoria state last week forced about 5 million people back into lockdown after a surge of cases.

In Japan, 62 U.S. military personnel have tested positive for coronavirus at three bases in Okinawa, in an outbreak that provoked ire from local officials.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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