Kenyan governor Mike Sonko has come under fire for including Hennessy cognac in Covid-19 care packages, claiming that it protects against the virus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned against alcohol consumption during lockdown, saying it can increase the risk of catching the coronavirus and worsen chances of recovery once the virus is contracted.
Last week, Sonko said he would include “small bottles of Hennessy” in the food parcels handed out to people during the pandemic, Citizen TV Kenya reported.
Kenya has 270 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 14 deaths.
Sonko justified the inclusion of alcohol by saying that cognac was a “throat sanitiser”.
“I think from the research that has been conducted by the World Health Organisation and various health organisations, it is believed that alcohol plays a major role in killing the coronavirus, or any sort of virus,” he said.
“We will have some small bottles of Hennessy in the food packs that we will be giving to our people…” – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
Note: WHO warns that drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous pic.twitter.com/vuSuVAb8dy
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 14, 2020
The WHO said alcohol was not a safeguard against the virus and called on governments around the world to tighten restrictions on access to alcohol during lockdown.
The global organisation explained that alcohol consumption was associated with several communicable and noncommunicable diseases that can make a person more vulnerable to catching the virus.
WHO says alcohol won’t kill the coronavirus — in fact, it may kill you
The World Health Organisation said alcohol consumption can increase a person’s chances of contracting the coronavirus.
The CEO of the medical non-profit Amref Health Africa, Dr Githinji Gitahi, slammed Sonko and urged Kenyans not to listen to him.
He also asked Kenya’s ministry of health to condemn Sonko’s words.
Please completely ignore clowning 🤡 of a major global pandemic taking lives & putting extreme pressure on households. Dump this the way you would dump your used #COVID19 #mask – never to be recovered! @MOH_Kenya needs to condemn this as this is not an ordinary citizen! pic.twitter.com/6Lsu0DXvzV
— Dr Githinji Gitahi, MBS (@daktari1) April 15, 2020
Hennessy has rejected Sonko’s claims that alcohol can protect someone from getting the virus.
“Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus,” the company told Nairobi News.