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Covid-19 Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:42 pm on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State 3:42 pm, 17th March 2020

The noble Lord raises an important point. I assure him that I am certainly engaging directly with high commissioners from across south Asia, particularly those with large diaspora communities. We are mindful of ensuring that they are cognisant of the announcements the Government are making and that, if there is a need for that to be understood more effectively because of a lack of language skills or understanding, that is taken up.

I have been really heartened by the response we have seen from not just responsible citizens but organisations from different communities. As I was coming into your Lordships’ House, I noticed that the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury has just put out a statement about congregational prayers. Equally, we have seen a very responsible attitude by other faith leaders, including in the Muslim community. As noble Lords will know, Friday constitutes an important day of gathering for the Friday prayer. I think of the actions we have seen in other parts of the world. I noticed that the Kuwaitis were encouraging people to remain at home through the call to prayer. These are the nuanced approaches that we should take on board for all communities in the United Kingdom. We should also ensure that we can share positive experiences we have here in the UK internationally.