For Covid fight, London mayor reaches out in Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali videos

London mayor Sadiq Khan has released videos in Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and other languages to highlight precautions against Covid-19, amid concerns that official guidance is not reaching south Asian communities in parts of Britain.

The videos feature Khan, with deputy mayor Rajesh Agarwal joining in Hindi, along with others promoting the importance of face coverings, social distancing and regular handwashing. Due to lockdown curbs, major cultural and religious events have not been celebrated as they usually would through communal gatherings.

London has several boroughs with large population of Indian and south Asian origin. Campaign group Doctors of the World UK and several organisations including the Greater London Authority had recently written to health secretary Matt Hancock over the lack of translation of updates to key advice in languages other than English.

South Asians and other ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with the Boris Johnson government setting up an inquiry to find the reasons behind it. Latest figures in England show that 793 patients categorised as ‘Indian’ have died.

South Asian Londoners are more likely to be employed as key workers in frontline health and service industry roles, and a recent study suggested that in hospital settings, people from South Asian backgrounds are 20% more likely than white people to die from Covid-19.

The videos are part of Khan’s efforts to deal with the disproportionate impact of the virus on South Asian communities.

He said: “From key workers on the frontline to families staying home, London’s South Asian communities have made extraordinary sacrifices to help stop the spread of this virus”.

“We know that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected South Asian Londoners and yet, at a time when access to clear and accurate information is more important than ever, this government is failing them. A person’s ethnicity should never mean the difference between life and death”, he added.

For Covid fight, London mayor reaches out in Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali videos