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People are becoming more aware of Covid-19’s global impact, Idris Elba says

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre (Ian West/PA)
Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre (Ian West/PA)

Idris Elba has said that people in the UK and US are becoming more aware of the impact coronavirus is having on the rest of the world.

The actor, 47, and his wife Sabrina Dhowre recently became United Nations goodwill ambassadors and were among the first public figures to catch the virus.

They also joined forces with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to launch a Covid-19 relief fund.

Speaking during an online briefing organised by the World Economic Forum, Elba said young people had become more aware of the plight of poorer countries during the pandemic.

He told a panel: “At the beginning stages of this pandemic, as far as the media was concerned, the optics were very close to home. Everyone was looking at themselves.

“I think what has happened now is we have realised that we are all collective somewhat. There are people looking further afield.”

He said that over the past three months he had seen that the “optical range has widened”.

He added: “People still care about their own and their country, but I think the perception from afar, from England, from America, is that: ‘If we have got it bad, then those that were already in a bad position are going to have it worse’.

The 91st Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Sabrina Dhowre and Idris Elba (Ian West/PA)

“The awareness of that is growing and it’s certainly growing at a policy-makers’ optics. We know that because of the outreach we have has been positively received.

“But as far as people on the ground watching their TVs, the first question is, ‘Why do we care?’ and ‘Why should we care?’, and that question spurs conversation.

“So for me, it’s encouraging. There is awareness about this, especially amongst the young.”

Dhowre said recent months had proven that coronavirus puts people living in poorer and rural areas at risk.

She said: “What we have seen is that Covid doesn’t discriminate but what it does do is put people who already are suffering from inequalities, people who are in these poor rural areas, women who may be living in fragile and conflict affected states, more at risk.

“When we are looking at the perception, I think what we need to keep in mind is that these issues that people in these rural areas are dealing with every day are exemplified by this crisis.

“We have done a great job outlining how that is today. We know that malnutrition increases the chances of getting ill, staying ill and dying.”

The pair went to Sierra Leone in December with the United Nations to see how IFAD was assisting people there.

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