KERALA: The Cine and Television Actors' Association (CINTAA) has urged producers to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) during the shooting and production stages to protect actors from Covid-19. The request from CINTAA comes at a time when several actors have tested positive for Covid, and some of them have even succumbed to the deadly virus.
In an open letter on Facebook, CINTAA has appealed to production houses and producers to follow all health and safety protocols and made it clear that even minor negligence could have a severe impact on the entire unit.
Actors succumbing to Covid-19
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, several actors in the Indian entertainment industry have fallen victim to Covid. Some of the noted actors who lost their lives due to Covid-related complications include veteran Bollywood actress Shripradha, Marathi actor Abhilasha Patil, and veteran Punjabi actor Satish Kaul, who had featured in BR Chopra's Mahabharat.
Apart from these artists who lost their lives after battling the fatal infection, several top Bollywood stars like Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Aamir Khan, and R Madhavan also tested Covid positive in recent weeks.
With Covid cases on the rise among the acting fraternity, CINTAA has aired its concerns over their safety, as they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to regular traveling.
SOPs to protect artists from Covid infection
The association urged producers to formulate SOPs by keeping the transmissibility of the new Covid variant in mind, which might show negative in the first RT-PCR and would mean isolating the cast and crew before and after the shoot.
Citing the example of the IPL bio bubble failure, CINTA predicted that the secure bubble maintained in television shooting sets may be breached soon.
"It is wonderful that TV shoots are shooting in a bubble, with necessary precautions, but we are worried that a secure bio bubble of the IPL has been breached, it will not take long for this disaster to strike TV shoots. There is a traffic of actors travelling to and from shoots, using flights and airports and the danger of infection is tenfold," said a CINTAA spokesperson in a recent press release.
Request for 30-day payment
CINTAA has also requested film and TV showrunners to follow the 30-day mode of payment until the end of the pandemic.
"With medical costs sky-rocketing, it is only prudent that expenses are completely covered with no burden to our members," added the spokesperson.
The association has also demanded an explanation from producers who have replaced actors who were unwilling to take part in shoots due to the second Covid wave. Seeking compensation from producers, CINTAA asked who will be responsible if an actor contracts the lethal disease.
"We are appealing to all the stakeholders that we want to know on whom does the moral responsibility lie: If the actor contracts Covid who is going to take care of the entire hospital/medical expenses, the insurance, injury cover, death cover, etc. Is the broadcaster taking the onus, studio taking the onus, or the producer association or individual producer is taking the onus, that is what we wish to know," it questioned, adding that actors are also no less than frontline workers.