Coronavirus (COVID-19) update for the Sikh community

correct as of 13th May 2020

Please share this important message with friends and family, as well as colleagues and others in the Sikh community.

Government advice

The Government has updated its advice. 

People are advised to:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • avoid public transport
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly
  • do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
  • you can leave home to exercise or visit the park as often as you want, but you should stay 2 metres away from others not in your household
  • you can meet 1 other person who isn’t in your household, but only outdoors

This will be enforced by the Police, and there will be fines of £100, reduced to £50 if paid in 14 days.

Those with the most serious health conditions, people over 70 and pregnant women should continue to self-isolate until the end of June.

Schools across England will start reopening as of 1st June for those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Those in other years or in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will stay closed for the foreseeable future.

However, children of key workers and vulnerable children are still able to attend school – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Children should not be left with elderly relatives.

All non-essential shops are closed until further notice.

The Government’s recovery strategy can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf

Health

Most people recover from the Coronavirus after having flu like symptoms for about a week.

There is no vaccine as yet.

Our Advice for Gurdwaras

All Gurdwaras and all other places of worship in the UK are still closed to public services.

Live streaming of Gurdwara services without an audience is allowed.

Some Gurdwaras have been able to keep the langar kitchens open with the assistance of trusted sewadars only to help provide food for the vulnerable by delivering to their homes or allowing people to collect langar on the street outside the Gurdwara.

Our advice is that all Gurdwaras should stay shut to the Sangat until further notice.

They will remain closed until 4th July at the very earliest, as part of the conditional and phased roadmap to begin lifting the lockdown.

Support for Charities and Gurdwaras

Many Gurdwaras and charities have seen donations drop by over 95% over the last few weeks, and they are struggling at the present time.

We recommend that they get in touch with Strengthening Faith Institutions for further support and guidance.

Their helpline is open every day from 1pm to 7pm – 0333 772 1989

Contingency Plans

Gurdwaras and organisations should consider what contingencies they have to continue operating.

 Questions to think about include:

  • Are there others who can step up to duties if necessary? Do you have their contact details?
  • How will you manage funerals in the coming days and weeks?
  • Are you able to stream the daily Nitnem on Facebook or Youtube?
  • Are you able to operate a mobile langar?
  • Are you able to help vulnerable people in your local area with food delivery?

Tracker

A localised breakdown of people diagnosed with Coronavirus in the UK can be used to keep a track of cases.

Guidance for Funerals

Gurdwaras are still allowed to conduct funerals. However, some Gurdwaras have now decided not to allow the casket to come to the Gurdwara before going to the crematorium due to the risk of spreading.

Washing of the deceased’s body is allowed, as long as there is appropriate PPE available for those who wish to wash the body. If there is no PPE, then the washing should not take place.

Only immediate family and/or close friends should attend a funeral at the crematorium, limited to the maximum number that the venue can cope with so that everyone is at least 2 metres away from each other.

People over the age of 70, other vulnerable people and pregnant women should think carefully before going to a funeral.

Those with symptoms should not attend, even if the symptoms are mild.

As an absolute minimum, Kirtan Sohila and Ardas should be recited before committal. If a Granthi is unavailable to do this, any family member is able to carry this out.

Sehaj Paths should be delayed for the foreseeable future, or until your Gurdwara can accommodate it if you are content with it being done in your absence.

Kara and Kirpan

When washing your hands, please wash your Kara with soap and water thoroughly. The coronavirus can survive on metal surfaces for long periods of time

If you wear a Kirpan on the outside of your clothes, wash your Kirpan frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.

Social Distancing

The Government has published detailed guidance on social distancing measures you should be taking to reduce social interaction between people.

 In English:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

In Punjabi/ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਚ:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874388/Guidance_on_social_distancing_for_everyone_in_the_UK_and_protecting_older_people_and_vulnerable_adults_Punjabi_PA.pdf

The Coronavirus outbreak is going to last for the next few months, and we will be in these extraordinary circumstances for the long haul.

Akal Takht Message to Sikh Community - 23.03.20

Thank you to the World Sikh Organisation for this translation

Gurdwara Live Streaming - Links

Some gurdwaras are providing live feeds:

Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (Park Avenue) (continuous)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnLz0COPV5c

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend (set times) – https://www.facebook.com/pg/GuruNanakDarbarGravesend/videos/

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCowAO1flh6qO9suMEtPRATg

Ramgarhia Gurdwara Woolwich (set times) –https://www.facebook.com/ramgarhia.woolwich

Please email us at info@citysikhs.org.uk if you know of other Gurdwaras with live feeds and you wish us to share them.

Mobile Langars and Other Support

Several Sikh organisations and Gurdwaras are providing mobile langar, food delivery and other support to vulnerable people.

Feed My City, Manchester/Salford/Trafford https://twitter.com/feedmycity_mcr/status/1242073477378695170/photo/1

Guru Maneo Granth Gurdwara, Slough https://www.gmggurdwara.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ae3ed36e-db6c-415e-bf5a-663d84de0676.jpg

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, Gravesend https://www.gurunanakdarbar.org/langar-delivery 

Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham https://www.facebook.com/nishkammedia/photos/a.734769176728075/1257431904461797 

Midland Langar Seva Society, Birmingham/Walsall https://twitter.com/MidlandLangar/status/1239864661077565441/photo/1 

Nishkam SWAT, West London/NW London/Swindon/Croydon https://twitter.com/NishkamSWAT/status/1241839589792382976/photo/1 

Sevadars, Leeds  https://sevadars.com/

Seva Trust UK, Bedford http://www.sevatrustuk.org/ 

Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall https://www.sgsss.org/event/coronavirus-support/ 

Please email us at info@citysikhs.org.uk if you know of other organisations providing support and you wish us to share them.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath. Symptoms are similar to cold and flu.

To get tested for Coronavirus, visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test

You should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days if:

  • You have a new continuous cough
  • You have a high temperature

Even if symptoms are mild, you should self isolate for 7 days.

Everyone you live with who doesn’t have symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days.

If you have mild symptoms, please do not call 111. Just stay at home for 14 full days.

For more guidance for what to do if you have to stay at home, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.

If symptoms become worse or they do not get better after 14 days, call 111 for more advice.

Other Important Information

If you are at home and you need to speak to someone because you are worried about your personal safety, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

Older people and Other vulnerable People

Older people and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk from the Coronavirus. The risks to pregnant women are currently unknown.

These groups should self-isolate until at least the end of June.

If you have relatives in these groups, please stay away from them until at least the end of June. If they need help with food and other provisions,  considers ways that langar and provisions can be delivered without having any physical contact with them, such as leaving items at their door without any physical contact.

If you live with relatives in these groups and you have symptoms, please stay at least 2 metres away from them at all times and use a separate bathroom to them.

If there is only one bathroom at home, anyone with symptoms should only use the bathroom after everyone else has done so. That means being the last to bathe. The bathroom should be cleaned with bleach-based cleaning products after use by the person with symptoms so that the risk of spreading can be reduced.

You should also think of what else you can do to help people in these groups, such as making sure kitchens are well stocked and they have enough medication at home.

Travel advice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all non-essential travel indefinitely. Do not travel abroad if you don’t have to.

If you are currently abroad and you are a British citizen, you should return to the UK immediately.

If you are British and stuck in India, please visit this page for specific information about how to seek urgent return to the UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/return-to-the-uk

If you are travelling abroad because it is essential, please check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to see what the advice is for your particular country

Regular updates will be provided over the coming weeks, so please keep an eye out for them. If you have any questions, please email info@citysikhs.org.uk