Are Muslim households in the UK the most vulnerable to coronavirus ?

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Are Muslims in the UK the most vulnerable to coronavirus ? To Shadim Hussain, a member of the government’s steering group on adoption and CEO of My Foster Family, the answer is yes.

«Many Muslims live in extended families, often, like my household, with three generations under one roof», wrote Hussain in an article published on The Independent.

«An older person cannot effectively self-isolate when they are living in close quarters with their children, grand-children and perhaps even extended family», he explained.

Living together is not the only problem that can make Muslims vulnerable to the virus but also eating together. «We eat together – often from one plate, sharing utensils and side dishes», he pointed out, adding that «for many Muslims, social intimacy like handshakes and hugs are so hardwired into their behavior that the week-old invention of 'social distancing' is both alien and absurd to them».

While several Muslim countries have decided to close their mosques to avoid the spread of coronavirus, several Muslim places of worship in the UK are still open. Most of the UK’s mosques closed their doors but «the prayer spaces that are still open may have even more people packed into them than usual, increasing the risk».

Another obstacle is the language. According to Hussain, «the official NHS website on the coronavirus is available only in English (…) which leaves many minorities whose English is not proficient enough to fully understand medical terms like 'quarantine' and 'pandemic' reliant on foreign or social media sources for their information».

For the record, the UK has recorded so far 3,269 confirmed coronavirus cases and 144 deaths related to the virus.

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