Coronavirus: Film in eight languages ‘shared worldwide’

Dr Koyes AhmedImage copyright Dr Koyes Ahmed
Image caption Dr Koyes Ahmed is a NHS GP and urgent care doctor working on the frontline during the pandemic

A video has been created for families whose first language is not English to give advice about coronavirus symptoms and staying safe during the pandemic.

The film, shared thousands of times, is fronted by Bristol GP Dr Koyes Ahmed and translated to eight languages including Arabic, Turkish and Urdu.

Dr Ahmed said the lockdown would particularly have a “huge impact” on Muslims during Ramadan.

The social media video has been shared even in the US, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Weronika Ozpolat, from the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group (BSMLG), who had the idea for the video said it was essential to “make information in people’s own languages [to] help them understand what to do and save lives”.

Image copyright Weronika Ozpolat
Image caption Weronika Ozpolat said the eight languages included Turkish, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Somali and Arabic

Both Dr Ahmed and Ms Ozpolat said lockdown would “mean a very different Ramadan this year”.

Ms Ozpolat said it meant not attending the mosque for prayers, or visiting friends to break the fast.

“We are creating more videos at the moment that relate to this and help keep people positive at this time.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Normally Muslims would come together with people of other faiths to share food and celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan

Dr Ahmed said: “[The video] has had a truly incredible response, with high-profile Muslim figures such as Baroness Warsi retweeting the video.

“People as far afield as USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mali and Japan are sharing it.”

Ms Ozpolat said: “While many people in minority communities speak English, there are still those who do not – particularly the older members of the community or those who have arrived in the UK recently – and it is important that this crucial information reaches them.”

When asked about why there seemed to be a disproportionate impact of the virus on the BAME population, Dr Ahmed said there were “multiple reasons” and “access to healthcare may be a factor – hence why our video is perhaps even more relevant and important”.

But he said there were also a “multitude of other factors to consider” including higher levels of poverty, inter-generational households and higher levels of some chronic diseases.

Dr Ahmed, who has three young children, said his family had also been affected as his parents “normally live with us at home”.

He said: “Before the lockdown started, we spoke to my parents and decided it was best for them to stay with one of my brothers – at least for the time being.

“We thought it would be in their best interests to be shielded and live away, despite it being difficult – for us and them – especially with how much they miss the grandchildren.”

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