At the time of writing, 8,077 cases have been diagnosed in the UK, and sadly 422 people have died. This number is expected to significantly rise within days, particularly affecting the elderly, as the worldwide fatality rate for those aged over 80 years is 14.8%.
Public health advice is now that all places of worship in the UK must now temporarily close. Individuals must stay at home as far as possible, avoid “non-essential” social contact, “unnecessary” travel, as well as gatherings of more than two people and keep 2m apart in public.
If you or anyone in your household have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days, which means not to leave home for any reason other than to exercise once a day.
Around 1.5m people in England have also been classified as “extremely vulnerable” because of an underlying health condition, and must avoid leaving home and face-to-face contact with others outside their household for at least 12 weeks (known as “shielding”).
Why Muslim communities need to act now!
Muslim communities are at increased risk compared to the general population because:
- 1. Frequency of community congregational activities for social events and religious purposes (madrasa, mosques etc.) compared to general population is higher.
- Elderly Muslims who are most at risk, are culturally more likely to live in extended families (rather than nursing/residential homes), so more social mixing and thus higher chance of receiving/ transmitting virus.
- Health conditions – Due to socio-economic factors, Muslims – especially the elderly – are statistically more likely to have underlying health conditions (e.g. diabetes / cardiovascular / chronic lung disease), which is another increased risk factor to the virus.
- Densely populated spaces and prostration on carpets at mosques and community centres where the virus may remain infectious if not cleaned properly.
- Wudu (ablution) facilities provide increased wet surfaces where virus can be harboured and are often used by a high quantity of worshippers in a short space of time.
Read the full community toolkit, developed in partnership with the Muslim Council of Britain, by clicking the below link: