Updated: May 4, 2020
The governor of Nairobi County in Kenya, Mike Sonko, has raised eyebrows after announcing that the COVID-19 relief items he is donating to needy residents in the city include Hennessy cognac. Addressing the press on Tuesday, Sonko justified his inclusion of the alcoholic beverage by falsely claiming that the World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that alcohol has high potency in curing coronavirus when consumed. “Kenyans under lockdown in Nairobi will receive 150ml bottles of Hennessy, masks and hand sanitizers in the food pack, the package which we give to our people to keep themselves safe during this period,” Sonko said in a video he shared on his Twitter account.
In another video shared by Citizen TV Kenya, the embattled governor, who faced corruption charges last year, went ahead to justify his inclusion of the alcoholic beverage. “From the research which has been conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) and various health organizations, it has been revealed that alcohol plays a very major role in killing the coronavirus or any sort of virus,” he said.
The WHO, however, strongly warns that consuming alcohol in a bid to fight off coronavirus rather makes you prone to suffering health problems that can aggravate your condition if you get the virus. After Sonko’s announcement, the local distributor of Hennessy in the country released a statement debunking his claims, Nairobi News reports. “Our attention has been drawn to a video circulating across different media channels on Tuesday 14 of April 2020, alleging that the consumption of Hennessy helps to fight Covid-19,” the statement said. “Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus.”
“In line with the WHO and Ministry of Health of Kenya, Hennessy advises on washing hands regularly with soap and water or hydro-alcoholic gels, wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and staying at home.”