Idris Elba has denied suggesting an annual week of quarantine, clarifying recent comments made in an interview about the coronavirus pandemic.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, Elba said he had not meant an enforced lockdown, but rather a way of marking what people have been through during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The actor himself was diagnosed with coronavirus back in March, but said he was lucky not to suffer serious symptoms.
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) news agency last week, Elba said: “I think that the world should take a week of quarantine every year just to remember this time. Remember each other. I really do.
“I think it’s… other species use it. It’s called hibernation. But it does remind you that the world doesn’t tick on your time.”
Elba was widely mocked online after the interview went out.
In his tweet clarifying his comments, he said his words had been twisted.
“I didn’t suggest an actual annual lockdown,” he posted. “I suggested a way of remembrance annually. Lazy journalism and click bate thirst will get your words twisted real quick.
“The actual POINT was that agriculture and the rural poor will suffer long after this time. Focus don’t hocus.”
Elba and his wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba were forced to self-isolate in New Mexico, where he had been filming, after being trapped there when the US and UK went into lockdown.
As new UN Goodwill Ambassadors, they are helping to raise $200m (£160m) to support rural farmers trying to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, in addition to an initial $40m in funding from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
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Speaking about the UN fund for farmers in the AP interview, Elba said people in rural and poor areas are likely to suffer more in the pandemic.
“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,” Elba said.