Official asks Culture Minister, IRIB CEO to halt film projects as coronavirus outbreak grows

TEHRAN – The head of the Coronavirus Control Operations HQ in Tehran has asked Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Abbas Salehi and IRIB Managing Director Ali Aliasgari to stop film projects due to a significant increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19. 

Addressing the two officials in a letter published on Wednesday, Alireza Zali asked the organizations to halt the projects for two weeks after a number of actors tested positive for COVID-19.
Zali noted that since the actors cannot wear masks while at work, putting them at higher risk, the projects must be stopped.

He also asked for more serious observance of health protocols and proper supervision at such time when the projects resume.

Actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya as the director of the Iranian Screen Actors Guild earlier had written a letter to Zali expressing her worries over the increasing number of actors who have tested positive with COVID-19.

“Over the past few days, several actors have tested positive because of their presence on film projects, and have been under treatment either at home or at the hospitals,” wrote Motamed-Arya.

“Unfortunately we lost one of our veteran actors Karim Akbari Mobarakeh who was infected with COVID-19 when he was working on a TV series project. There are several cinema and televisions projects currently under production and according to the producers all health protocols are being observed at the filming locations. But we should be aware that actors and stunt personnel cannot wear masks while they are in front of the cameras and also they cannot observe social distancing while acting,” she added.

Akbari Mobarakeh’s son, Navid, had said that his father was infected with COVID-19 when he was working on the TV series project “Beheading Festival”.

Cast member Laleh Eskadari and a crew member of the project had earlier tested positive for coronavirus.

“Considering the current crisis, the association sees the situation as a grave threat and expects the headquarters to take serious action and halt the projects,” Motamed-Arya said.

After the death of Akbari Mobarakeh, Motamed-Arya had wished serious action would have been taken to remove the deadly shadow of coronavirus from the actors.


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