Coronavirus (COVID-19) update for the Sikh community

correct as of 24th March 2020

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

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 –

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 at

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

Our Advice 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 as normal.

 Questions to think about include:

  • 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?

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.

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.

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

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.

Social Distancing

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

 In English:

In Punjabi/ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਚ:

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.


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

There is no vaccine as yet.


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

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)

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend (set times) –

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi –

Please email us at 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

Guru Maneo Granth Gurdwara, Slough

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, Gravesend 

Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham 

Midland Langar Seva Society, Birmingham/Walsall 

Nishkam SWAT, West London/NW London/Swindon/Croydon 

Sevadars, Leeds

Seva Trust UK, Bedford

Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall 

Please email us at if you know of other organisations providing support and you wish us to share them.


The symptoms of Coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath. 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 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

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

Vaisakhi Events

Vaisakhi is on 13 April and is less than 4 weeks away.

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

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 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,  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) now advises against all non-essential travel until 16 April 2020. 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 –

Many other countries have now gone into lockdown, and the guidance is changing daily.

If you are travelling abroad because it is essential, please check to see what the advice is for your particular country

Information for Businesses and Sole Traders

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