Latest Government update:

Currently we know that Coronavirus is spreading in the UK. The government raised the risk level to ‘high’ in the UK on the 12th March 2020. Anyone with a new persistent cough or high temperature is now advised to self-isolate for seven days. The UK government is moving from ‘containment’ phase to the ‘delay’ phase of its plan to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus.

What is Covid-19?

SARS-CoV-2 is the technical name of this coronavirus, which is from the same family of viruses that cause the common cold. The initial symptoms it causes are similar to the viruses that give flu-like symptoms. Covid-19 predominantly affects the respiratory system causing breathing problems. It is particularly dangerous in elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions which makes them vulnerable.

How does it spread?

Our current understanding is that the coronavirus spreads in the saliva from an infected person landing on another, usually through coughing, sneezing or touching an infected surface. It is more likely to spread in crowds. There are cases where individuals have picked up Covid-19 without obvious exposure to known individuals or travel to affected countries.

What measures can you take to protect against Covid-19?

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  2. Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  3. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  5. Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  6. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  7. Avoid attending congressional prayer if you are mildly unwell with flu like symptoms
  8. Avoid handshaking, hugging and close contact with people
  9. Those who are over 60 years old or anyone with underlying medical conditions are at risk more and should consider praying at home

What should you do if you think you have the virus?

  1. If you have a high temperature or a new continuous cough you should self-isolate for 7 days. You do not need to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  2. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. There will be no testing for people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
  3. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
  4. Self-isolation is about protecting others in your community while you are infectious and preventing the spread of the virus.

General advice for Muslim communities

  1. Whilst taking reasonable precautions to protect ourselves, do not become fearful, everything happens by the decree of Allah.
  2. Avoiding forwarding unconfirmed news reports on social media which may create unnecessary panic and fear.
  3. There are many people panic buying, please be considerate and show concern for others.
  4. Remember ultimately our return is to our Creator. Turn to Allah in hope, patience and prayer. 

What about visiting the sick?

As we are unclear about the extent of the virus’ spread, nor who is ill with a common cold and who may have Covid-19, we must limit contact with those who are unwell during this period. Communal support can still be provided via telephone and video, as well as assisting with activities that do not require close contact.

Advice on attending congregational prayers and Ramadan?

At present there is no advice on restricting gatherings. However, there is the possibility that we may be advised to do so and/or quarantine certain areas. Luton Council of Mosques and Sunni Council Mosques are liaising with relevant authorities and will keep community members updated. 

How can we stay up to date with the latest information?

You can visit Luton Borough Council website for more information and advise on Coronavirus: https://www.luton.gov.uk/Health_and_social_care/health/Pages/information-on-coronavirus.aspx

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) also has a website with relevant information to help: https://mcb.org.uk/mcb-updates/coronavirus-guidance-for-mosques-and-madrassas/

Last update: 12th March 2020

Source: The Muslim Council of Britain, British Islamic Medical Association and Luton Borough Council