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Kenya Governor Criticized For Putting Hennessy Bottles In Coronavirus Care Packages

Kenya Governor Criticized For Putting Hennessy Bottles In Coronavirus Care Packages

Kenyan shilling care packages
Kenyan Governor Mike Sonko has been criticized for putting small Hennessy bottles in coronavirus care packages destined for poor families in Nairobi. In this March 6, 2020 file photo, Kenyan nurses Maggie Ogonga (left) and Lucy Kanyi demonstrate the facilities and protective equipment to be used to isolate and treat COVID-19 coronavirus cases, at the infectious disease unit of Kenyatta National Hospital in the capital Nairobi, Kenya. Image: AP Photo/Khalil Senosi, File

A Kenyan governor has been criticized after he sent a coronavirus care package containing miniature bottles of Hennessy cognac to poor families and falsely claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) says that “alcohol kills the virus”.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko justified the inclusion of the small bottles of cognac in the care packages as “throat sanitizer”.

“We will be giving some small bottles of Hennessy in the food package which we give to our people,” Sonko said in a video.

“I think from the research conducted by the World Health Organization and various organizations, it has been believed that alcohol plays a major role in killing the coronavirus,” he added.

The WHO has warned that drinking alcohol makes people more susceptible to the coronavirus, and is urging governments to uphold, or even strengthen, restrictions on buying booze.

It also pointed out that excessive drinking can lead to a host of other harmful outcomes, including domestic violence, risk-taking behavior, and depression.


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French cognac distiller Hennessy distanced itself from Governor Sonko’s claims that their drink can help in killing the coronavirus.

“Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus,” it said in a statement.

“Hennessy advises on washing hands regularly with soap and water or hydro-alcoholic gels, wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and staying at home.”

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Known for his flamboyant persona and style of dressing, Governor Sonko is not new to controversy and is currently under investigation for corruption. It is also claimed that he escaped from a maximum-security prison in the mid-90s.