Idris Elba angrily denies 'stupid' celebrity coronavirus conspiracy theory

Idris Elba has responded to a “stupid” conspiracy theory that he and other celebrities are being paid to say they have the new coronavirus.

Elba, who revealed he tested positive for the illness earlier this month, spoke about the conspiracy theory on Instagram Live after Cardi B’s recent comments about the U.S. government allowing asymptomatic famous people to access tests, while others with symptoms have to wait up to a week to even apply.

“I think the debate about rich and poor and who’s getting it and who’s not, I think, is not a healthy debate,” Elba said on Instagram Live. “It’s like, I got a test but I also got COVID. Does that make me preferential? I don’t understand that.”

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“I think that the negativity around test-shaming is counterproductive. I don’t see what people get out of that. And also this idea that someone like myself is gonna be paid to say I’ve got coronavirus? That’s absolute bullsh-t.

“Such stupidness. People wanna spread that as if it’s news. That’s stupid. It’s the quickest way to get people sick because there’s no benefit to me and Sabrina sitting here saying we’ve got it or we ain’t got it. I don’t even understand the logic of that,” Elba said of himself and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, who also tested positive for COVID-19.

The 47-year-old actor told his followers that they need to understand that “this is not a movie.”

“I’m not an actor right now,” he said. “I’m just a human being and I just happen to be in the public eye. So I want people to understand that this is very real. I don’t feel like I’m privileged because I got a test because I actually contracted it.”

Elba never mentioned Cardi B’s name during his Instagram Live.

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In Cardi B’s recent Instagram Live, she said celebrities who say they’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus without symptoms sound like they are in a “Flat Tummy Tea commercial,” which is a detox tea that influencers are paid to promote on social media.

“I’m starting to feel like y’all n—as is paying n—as to say that they got it,” she said in a recent Instagram Live video. “If y’all are paying n—as to say that they got it, pay me too.”

Elba revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 on March 16.

“This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus,” Elba wrote on Twitter.

“Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic.”

In the video he shared on social media, Elba said “it sucks” but that he was “doing OK.”

“Sabrina hasn’t been tested and she’s doing OK. I didn’t have any symptoms but I got tested because I realized I was exposed to someone who had also tested positive.

“I quarantined myself and got a test immediately and I got the results back today. Look, this is serious.”

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He said it was the time “to really think about social distancing, washing your hands.”

He said there are “people out there who aren’t showing symptoms and that can easily spread it.”

“So now’s a real time to be really vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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