As COVID-19 continues to spread, Idris Elba has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The Luther star announced the news via a video message on Twitter on Monday, March 16. In his video, the actor assured fans that he's feeling fine right now, but he also took the opportunity to advise people to "stay home and be pragmatic."
"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," he tweeted alongside the video. "Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing No panic." His wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, also appeared in the video, but the actor said that she hasn't been tested. Ultimately, Elba's calm message seems to echo that of Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who announced their diagnosis on Mar. 11. (The couple have since been released from the hospital and are now being quarantined as they recover in a rented home in Australia.)
Unlike Hanks, Elba showed no symptoms of COVID-19 — like shortness of breath or a cough — but opted to get tested after discovering he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. "I didn't have any symptoms. I got tested because I realized I was exposed to someone who had also tested positive," Elba shared in his video. "I found out last Friday that they were tested positive. I quarantined myself and got a test immediately and got the results back today."
Elba also used his announcement as a way to encourage vigilance when it comes to social distancing and hand-washing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "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," he said. "Transparency is probably the best thing for this right now. If you're feeling ill or you feel like you should be tested or you've been exposed, then do something about it, alright?"
In addition to Elba, Hanks, and Wilson, other celebrities and politicians who have tested positive for COVID-19 include Quantum of Solace actor Olga Kurylenko and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. Other celebrities like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift are using their social media platforms to advocate for social distancing at this time.
For now, the best thing fans can do is take Elba's message of solidarity to heart. "Now's the time for thinking about each other," he said, before urging everyone to "stay positive" just as he seems to be doing during these confusing times.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.