Idris Elba says coronavirus had ‘traumatic’ effect on his mental state

Sarah Young
Idris Elba has written a powerful essay about the need to protect UK independent cinema: Getty
Idris Elba has written a powerful essay about the need to protect UK independent cinema: Getty

Idris Elba has opened up about his experience with coronavirus earlier this year, saying the illness had a “traumatic” experience on him mentally.

The Cats star and his wife Sabrina Dhowre were among some of the first public figures to reveal they had tested positive for the virus in March.

However, the couple made a full recovery, with Elba later stating he was “lucky to be alive”.

In a new interview with the Radio Times, the British actor explained that while he managed to recover from Covid-19, it had a negative effect on his mental wellbeing.

“I was asymptomatic, so I didn’t get the major symptoms everyone else got,” he said

“Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it. I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown.

“So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic.”

Elba added that the lockdown, which was implemented across many countries throughout March, helped him come to terms with the virus and get back to full health.

“I needed the lockdown to try to get over it,” Elba said. “And it turns out the world actually probably needed the lockdown, too.”

In March, the Luther actor announced that he had tested positive with a Twitter video in which he revealed he was not experiencing any symptoms.

“So look – this morning I got some test results back for coronavirus and it came back positive. Yeah, and it sucks,” he said.

“Listen, I’m doing OK. I didn’t have any symptoms. I got tested because I realised I was exposed to someone who had also tested positive,” he added. “I found out last Friday that they were tested positive. I quarantined myself and got the results back today.”

Elba urged his followers to take necessary precautions, telling them: “This is serious. Now’s the time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands... Beyond that, there are people out there who aren’t showing symptoms and that can easily spread it.”

In April the star suggested that the world should go through a week of quarantine every year, as a reminder of what happened but later went back on the comments.

The 47-year-old appeared to suggest an annual quarantine during an interview with the Associated Press, where he quoted as saying: “You know, everyone’s sort of feeling the way we have been feeling, but it has definitely been sort of just a complete upheaval.

“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.”

A host of famous faces including politicians, singers and actors entertainers have all been affected by the virus, including singer Pink, magician Dynamo and actor Tom Hanks, who have all publicly shared their experiences with Covid-19.

You can read the full interview with Idris Elba in Radio Times magazine, out now.

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