Egyptian actor Youssef Shaaban in hospital after contracting Covid-19

The screen veteran was due to star in a coming Ramadan television drama

Egyptian actor Yussef Shaaban poses with his lifetime achievement award during the 31st Egyptian Cinema Oscars in Cairo, late February 12, 2010. AFP PHOTO/AMR AHMAD (Photo by AMR AHMAD / AFP)
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Egyptian screen great Youssef Shaaban is in intensive care caused by complications from Covid-19.

The film and television actor, 89, was reportedly checked into an Egyptian hospital on Sunday, and has been receiving treatment.

Daughter Iman Shaaban confirmed the news to ET bil Arabi and said her father remains stable and breathing through a ventilator.

It remains to be seen how the hospitalisation will affect the coming drama Ash El Dababeer, in which Shaaban stars alongside fellow Egyptian actor Amr Saad.

The series, which is scheduled to be broadcast during Ramadan, would have marked Shaaban's first role in five years. His last major appearance was in 2016 film Al Meshakhsaty 2 in which he reprised his famous character, the spy chief Mohsin Mumtaz from the landmark Egyptian series Raafat Al Haggan.

Fans went online to wish him a speedy recovery, including singer Latifa Al-Tunisia, who tweeted: "May God heal you from this dreaded virus."

The pandemic continues to ravage the entertainment industry and caused the death of many high-profile cultural figures in 2020.

Those who have passed away from complications related to Covid-19 include Egyptian actress Ragaa Al Geddawy, who died last July 5 at the age of 81; Lebanese singer Marwan Mahfouz, who died in Damascus, aged 78 on July 25; Saudi singer Saad Al Tamimi, who died aged 93 on July 16; and veteran Syrian actor Tony Mousa, who succumbed to the virus on August 9 in Damascus, aged 66.

Shaaban’s diagnosis is a stark reminder of the risks production companies face when shooting amid the pandemic.

With Ramadan approaching in April, the pressure is on to complete the works in a timely yet safe manner.

For some anticipated dramas, this means halving the workload and producing 15 episodes as opposed to the usual 30.

Productions taking that route include the Egyptian pandemic-inspired series Covid-25, starring Youssef el Sherif; Bayn Al Sama Wal Ard with Hani Salama; and Lebanese drama Salon Zizi, featuring Nadine Nassib Njeim, the Lebanese-Tunisian actress and model who was severely injured in the Beirut port explosion last August.