Sadiq Khan has produced videos providing health advice in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi in an attempt to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on South Asian Londoners.
The Mayor introduces all four of the short clips in the different languages with the remainder of each 90 second message presented by others, including his deputy mayor for business Rajesh Agrawal who delivers the Hindi version. They underline core guidance about the use of face-coverings, observing social distancing and regular hand-washing.
The initiative is in response to members of the capital’s various South Asian communities being among the groups of Londoners most affected by the coronavirus, including fatally. City Hall says these Londoners are “more likely to be employed as key workers in frontline health and service industry roles” and cites a recent study “suggesting that in hospital settings people from South Asian backgrounds are 20% more likely than white people to die from Covid-19.”
Last month, public health expert Professor Gurch Randhawa told the London Assembly’s health committee that public health messaging tailored to reach different communities across the country could have reduced the spread of the virus, including in the capital.
Khan, who is the son of immigrants from Pakistan, is an advocate of non-English speakers in Britain learning the language, but the videos appear to be a recognition that a bespoke approach to some Londoners whose first language is different is desirable for controlling the virus.
Accompanying the release of the videos, Khan 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,” and he urged the government to “do more to ensure reliable guidance in accessible formats is available to all.”
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