Please forward this important message to friends and family, as well as colleagues and others in the Sikh community

The Government advice page can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Most people recover from the Coronavirus after having flu like symptoms for about a week. There is no vaccine yet. Health advice can be found here – https://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus/

A localised breakdown of people diagnosed with Coronavirus in the UK can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases

Government Advice

The Prime Minister has announced a lockdown for at least 3 weeks.

People are only allowed to leave home for the following purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities
  • one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
  • gatherings in public must be no larger than two people

This will be enforced by the Police, and there will be fines of £30.

If you are out in public with members of your own household, you will not be fined. However, you must only be out for exercise of shopping for basic necessities

Those with the most serious health conditions, people over 70 and pregnant women should self-isolate for the next 12 weeks, namely until mid-June 2020.

Schools across the UK are closed until further notice.

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.

The following shops are allowed to remain open:

  • food delivery and takeways
  • supermarkets and other food shops
  • health shops
  • pharmacies
  • petrol stations
  • bicycle shops
  • home and hardware shops
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • garages
  • car rentals
  • pet shops
  • corner shops
  • newsagents
  • post offices
  • banks

All other shops are now closed until further notice.

Government guidance on businesses and premises closures can be found here – https://bit.ly/3bsdNbT

The lockdown policy will be reviewed in 3 weeks’ time, namely on/around 13th April 2020.

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://bit.ly/2QHWhZa

In Punjabi/ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਚhttps://bit.ly/39ffEzf

Symptoms

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

Testing is only going to be for patients at hospital and for the most vulnerable people.

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 and everyone you live with 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, call 111 for more advice.

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.

Information for Gurdwaras

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

Live streaming of Gurdwara services without an audience is allowed.

Whilst the Government says that “places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer”, our advice is that all Gurdwaras should stay shut to the Sangat until further notice.

This will be reviewed in 3 weeks’ time, namely on/around 13th April 2020.

Contingency Plans

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

Questions to think about include:

  • What will you do if a giani becomes unwell?
  • What will you do if a Granthi becomes unwell?
  • 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?

Our Guidance for Funerals

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

Only immediate family should attend a funeral at the crematorium, limited to no more than 2 people. It should only be people who have not been in physical contact with the deceased for at least 14 days, again due to the risk of spreading and to keep staff at crematoria safe.

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

As a minimum, Kirtan Sohila and Ardas can 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. A larger memorial can then take place once the outbreak is under control.

We appreciate this will be very hard and difficult for all of us, especially when it comes to our loved ones passing away. However, we are in unprecedented circumstances and we ask everyone to comply with this.

Akal Takht Message to Sikh Community dated 23.03.20

Thank you to the World Sikh Organisation for the following translation:

Gurdwara Live Streaming – links

The following gurdwaras are providing live feeds:

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.

The Government has also asked for 250,000 volunteers to join the NHS volunteer responders scheme. More information will be provided on how to join this volunteer group in due course.

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

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi is on 13th April and it is less than 4 weeks away. The lockdown is likely to be continuing until at least that date.

We advise that Gurdwaras organise a virtual programme for Vaisakhi, so that people can pay their respects online instead of going to the Gurdwara.

If the lockdown is continuing to that date, do not visit the Gurdwara on Vaisakhi.

Older people, Other Vulnerable People and Pregnant Women

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 for the next 12 weeks.

If you have relatives in these groups, please stay away from them for the next 12 weeks. If they need help with food and other provisions, consider ways that langar and provisions can be delivered without having any physical contact with them, such as leaving items at their door.

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) now advises against all non-essential travel until 16th April 2020. Do not travel abroad if you don’t have to.

India has banned all travel by non-Indian citizens into the country until 15th April 2020. If you have a visa or an OCI card, you will not be able to travel to India during this period.

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

Many other countries have now gone into lockdown.

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

Information for Businesses and Sole Trader

Businesses will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to cover 80% of salary for employees who are retained but not working

VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be interest free for 12 months,
and it will launch next week

The next tax self-assessments will be deferred until January 2021

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-
to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

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/

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