Idris Elba tests positive for coronavirus COVID-19

Idris Elba.
Idris Elba. Photo credit: Getty.

Actor Idris Elba has tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19.

The British actor made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday morning, saying he was feeling "ok" and without symptoms, but has isolated himself. There are currently more than 1500 people with the potentially deadly illness in the United Kingdom. Fifty-three people have died in the country. 

"Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic," Elba, who is also a DJ, tweeted.

Alongside the tweet, Elba posted a video alongside his wife Sabrina Dhowre, who has not been tested but is also "doing okay". Elba explained that he was tested after coming into contact with someone who the virus. He found that out on Friday and quarantined himself afterwards.

"This is serious. Now is the time to really think about social distancing, washing you hands. Beyond that, there are people out who aren't showing symptoms and that can easily spread it," he said in the video.

"Now is the time to be really vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance."

He said he has told his family and colleagues and called on others who think they may have the illness to be transparent and get tested.

"If you are feeling ill or you feel like you should be tested or you have been exposed, then do something about it. It is really important.

"We live in a divided world right now. We can all feel it... Now is the time for solidarity. Now is the time for thinking about each other. There are so many people whose lives have been affected... this is real."

Coronavirus is primarily spread through droplets in the air after someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also be contracted by touching surfaces where the illness is present, according to the World Health Organization. The length of time the virus stays alive on surfaces is unknown at this stage, but some viruses can remain active for days. 

"Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death," the WHO says.

"Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing."

There is currently no vaccine for the sickness, which has infected 175,000 worldwide, with 6700 deaths.

Elba isn't the only actor with the illness. Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita, also contracted COVID-19 while filming in Australia. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko has also tested positive. She starred alongside Daniel Craig in 2008's Quantum of Solace.