After learning that he had been exposed to COVID-19, Idris Elba announced he tested positive for coronavirus on Monday. The 47-year-old actor, however, urged people to stay calm and, most importantly, stay home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of the new virus.
"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 on March 16. "Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic."
With his wife, model Sabrina Dhowre Elba, by his side, Elba admitted in a video shared on Twitter that his coronavirus diagnosis "sucks," but shared that he's "doing OK" as Sabrina, who has not been tested.
"I didn't have any symptoms," Elba says in the video. "I got tested because I was exposed to someone who had also tested positive. I found out last Friday that they were tested positive, I quarantined myself and got tested immediately."
News of Elba's coronavirus diagnosis comes days after Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they've also tested positive for coronavirus while in Australia. In the United States, health officials for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed over 3,480 cases and 68 deaths as of Monday, March 16.
"Look, this is serious," he says, "Now is the time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands ... There are people out there who aren't showing symptoms and that can easily spread it, OK? So now's the real time to be really vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance."
Health officials have strongly called for social distancing. On Monday, in fact, the White House said people should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, according to CNN.
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the globe, Elba called for "transparency" right now. As of March 15, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported over 153,500 cases of the new virus and over 5,700 deaths globally. "If you're feeling ill or feel like you should be tested or you've been exposed, do something about it," Elba says. "It's really important."
"We live in a divided world right now, we can all feel it, it's been bullsh*t," he goes on the say. "But now's the time for solidarity, now's the time for thinking about each other. There are so many people whose lives have been affected — from those who've lost that they love, to people that don't even have it and have lost their livelihoods. This is real."
"I will keep you updated ... so far we're feeling OK," Elba concludes. "Stay positive and don't freak out."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.