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Alia Bhatt Image Credit: PTI

Alia Bhatt, who has already had a close brush with the coronavirus, has sent out a public appeal on social media for people in Maharashtra to follow safety measures as the Indian state deals with a surge in COVID-19 numbers.

Bhatt’s appeal through her Instagram Stories comes as Maharashtra grappled with a spike in cases on Thursday, recording 25,883 new cases in a day, which is the highest daily count in the state since the pandemic hit. The highest number last year in the state, which is home to the city of Mumbai and the Bollywood film industry, was 24,886 in September.

The Bollywood actress has had a close encounter with the virus already with her actor-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor testing positive for COVID-19 last week. The same day, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is the director of Bhatt’s film ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ also reportedly tested positive. Following both incidents, the actress went into isolation until her PCR test came back as negative. Earlier, Kapoor’s mother, actress Neetu Singh Kapoor also faced her battle with virus.

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Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt & Neetu Singh Kapoor snapped together Image Credit: ANI

As talks of a second wave in India takes hold, Bollywood has been battling a spike in COVID positive cases as well with actors such as Manoj Bajpayee, Ashish Vidyarthi and Siddhant Chaturvedi also confirming they had the coronavirus last week. Tara Sutaria, who was rumoured to have tested positive as well, put out a statement on social media stating that her results were negative.

Over the past few months, other Bollywood actors who have battled the virus include Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan. Last year, award-winning singer SP Balasubramanyam died from complications stemming from COVID-19.

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Dharmendra Image Credit: IANS

The recent spike in numbers also promoted veteran star Dharmendra to also take to Twitter on March 19 to remind people to wear masks and maintain social distancing, after Maharashtra registered a new high in COVID-19 cases the day before. Among other celebrities who tweeted concern was film producer Ronnie Screwvala.

“Don’t let your guard and mask down. COVID cases are rising alarmingly. Be sensitive and sensible! #COVID-19,” he tweeted as well.

Meanwhile, Bhatt, who has been out and about this past week, has been busy promoting her upcoming film projects, which includes the Ayan Mukerji fantasy drama ‘Brahmastra’, which stars her beau Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. Along with ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, she also has SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ in the pipeline.