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ARC EM researchers break down language barrier to assist Covid-19 tier system rules

The COVID-19 tier system rules have been translated into South Asian languages so people who do not speak English can fully understand what they can and can’t do. 

The documents, which lay out the three-tier system of restrictions across England, are now available to read in Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.

The project was a joint initiative between the South Asian Health Foundation (SAHF), the Centre for BME Health, based in Leicester, and ARC East Midlands.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of NIHR ARC East Midlands and the BME Centre, said: “Leicestershire is an extremely multicultural county and for many people here, English is not their first language and some may not speak it at all. 

“We already know that ethnic monitories are at a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 and understanding the tier system is complicated enough without having to worry about a language barrier too. 

“With Leicestershire and Leicester being in tier 3, we felt it vital that people – whatever cultural background they may be from – have access to the documents in a language they understand. However, we hope these translated documents will help south Asians across UK.

Professor Wasim Hanif is a Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Consultant Physician and Clinical Service Lead in diabetes at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and also a SAHF trustee. He said: “COVID-19 has impacted on all corners of society, with growing evidence to suggest that the burden of the pandemic is not equal across population groups. These translations aim to mitigate further disparity in COVID-19 outcomes for ethnic monitories.”

SAHF Chairman of Trustees, Professor Kiran Patel, Chief Medical Officer and Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, added: These documents are another important step forward in helping to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the welfare of our families, friends and communities.”

The tiering approach was introduced to help prevent the need to introduce stricter national measures.

The restrictions are to be reviewed on December 16 and any areas which have made progress on reducing the infection could be released into lower tiers of restrictions before Christmas.

Figures collected by the Strategic Business Intelligence Team at Leicestershire County Council showed that as of week 47, up to November 20, there have been a total of 669 deaths in Leicestershire. 

The number of weekly counts of deaths has increased from 22 deaths in week 46 to 39 deaths in week 47. 

Of all deaths involving COVID-19 in Leicestershire, 419 (62.6 per cent) were in hospital and 197 (29.4 per cent) were in a care home. 

The Centre for BME Health is working to reduce health inequality in the region by sharing resources and promoting research. The Centre is supported by the University of Leicester and ARC East Midlands.


Published on: 11 Dec 2020