The WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination has written to
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in response to his recent comment
that Italy won’t stand for being treated “like a leper colony”
over the coronavirus.
In his letter dated June 1, Yohei Sasakawa said the foreign minister’s
choice of words in his widely reported May 30 Facebook post serves to
reinforce discrimination against people affected by the disease and
their families, and called on him to refrain from using leprosy as a
negative metaphor in future.