With the world fighting a stiff battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘racist’ remarks by two French medical professionals on Thursday have taken the African football fraternity by storm.
The comments, which came on a Television program, were made regarding the potential BCG vaccine, one among the numbers of drugs that are being considered as an antidote against COVID-19.
Professor Jean-Paul Mira, head of the ICU at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, said, “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we do this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment, no resuscitation? The same as for some AIDS studies where prostitutes try things because we know they’re unprotected.”
To which another Professor Camille Locht, research director at Inserm, replied, “You are right. We are currently thinking in parallel about a study in Africa to make this same type of approach with the BCG. There is a tender process that has gone out or is going to go out. We will seriously think about that. That doesn’t prevent us from thinking in parallel about a study in Europe and Australia.”
Renowned African and former Chelsea footballers Didier Droga and Samuel Eto’o took to social media to express their grief over the comments and called the doctors ‘racist’ and asked them to stop treating Africans as human ‘guinea pigs’.
The former Ivory Coast captain, Drogba, wrote, “It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this. Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words. Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing Covid 19 and flatten the curve.”
He added, “Help us save lives in Africa and stop the spread of this virus which is destabilising the whole world, instead of considering us as guinea pigs. It is absurd!”
Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging populations health worldwide.
Do not take African people as human guinnea pigs! It’s absolutely disgusting…
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) April 2, 2020
The former Cameroon and Barcelona striker, Eto’o, shared a video of the health professionals speaking, and wrote on his official Instagram page, “You are just S**T. Africa isn’t yours to play with.”
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The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the sporting calendars across the world with football being the worst-hit. All major leagues and tournaments across the world, including the top five European leagues and the UEFA Champions League, have come to a standstill.
The Euro 2020 and the Copa America 2020, which were scheduled to be played in this year’s summer, have now been postponed due to the global crisis caused by the novel coronavirus which has already affected over 10,39,000 people and killed more than 55,000 people.