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Idris Elba Says People Should Quarantine Every Year to Remember the COVID-19 Crisis, Talks ‘Poor’ People in Rural Areas Being Affected

Idris Elba says it would be wise if people quarantined every year to remember the COVID-19 crisis. He also talked about the need to support those in rural areas, including farmers and others who produce food.

Elba was one of the first celebrities to reveal that he tested positive for the disease, and his wife Sabrina Dhowre tested positive shortly afterward.

In a new interview with the Associated Press, Elba described the experience of being ill as “definitely scary and unsettling and nervous.” The actor said that he and Dhowre’s lives were completely “turned around” as well.

“You know, everyone’s sort of feeling the way we have been feeling, but it has definitely been sort of just a complete upheaval,” he explained. “The world doesn’t tick on your time. I think that the world should take a week of quarantine every year just to remember this time. Remember each other. I really do.”

In their newly appointed roles as UN Goodwill Ambassadors, Elba and Dhowre have partnered with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). One of their roles will be to help set up a $40 million relief fund for farmers and food producers in rural areas.

“People forget that 80 percent of the poor population live in these rural areas,” Elba explained. “What we are really worried about at the moment, and why we are launching this fund is that those people are being forgotten.”

Elba spoke about others who are struggling in rural areas too.

“If you imagine being in a village where no one even knows the name of your village or your population, and that you live in a slum where there is one room and six of you live in it, social distancing is almost laughable,” he said.

IFAD said it hopes to raise up to $200 million in additional money from governments around the world, on top of the $40 million the relief fund will provide.

Elba and his wife reportedly have been in New Mexico ever since he announced his diagnosis on March 16 since he was shooting a film there. The couple plans to return to their hometown of London once they’re able to secure a flight.

“We’ve been fortunate,” said Elba. “We have been staying in a lovely place that’s been very comfortable for the time. But we’re looking forward to going home.”

The couple also spoke to BBC News in a separate interview, where Dhowre said officials can’t just focus on the health aspects of the disease; they’ll have to pay heavy attention to the economic ramifications as well.

“There’s going to be a lot of people who are going to be suffering from the economic fallout,” she explained. “With Ebola, more people actually died from the economic aftermath than the actual disease itself.”

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