British Asian stars unite in coronavirus appeal video to 'save lives'

British Asian celebrities have joined forces to create a Covid-19 video appeal aimed at promoting safety measures within the British Asian community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-minute video features stars of music, TV and media - including ITV News Presenter Ranvir Singh, Naughty Boy, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ameet Chana and GMB's Adil Ray - appealing to people in the British Asian community with "an urgent message" to adhere to government coronavirus guidance and protect the most vulnerable.

The film opens with Eastenders' actor Nitin Ganatra delivering a stark message, warning that coronavirus - "the greatest threat to our lives in recent history" - "may be even worse" for British Asians.

Nitin Ganatra suggests more than one-third of patients who are critically ill in hospital with the virus are from BAME backgrounds. Credit: British Asian Community - Covid19 Appeal.

The appeal comes as NHS England data revealed more than 16% of people who had tested positive for coronavirus when they died were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Research quoted by Mr Ganatra in the campaign suggests more than one-third of patients who are critically ill in hospital with the virus are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Of the more than 60 NHS workers who have died with Covid-19, a significant proportion were from BAME backgrounds.

Adil Ray said on Twitter that "a few of us felt we needed to do something," in response to the crisis that was disproportionally affecting the British Asian and other BAME communities.

ITV News Presenter Ranvir Singh urges people to follow advice in the video. Credit: British Asian Community - Covid19 Appeal.

Renowned film director and writer Gurinder Chadha told ITV News she became involved because she was particularly upset at how hard the virus was hitting the UK Asian community.

"We're all devastated by the impact of coronavirus and how random it is, it can infect anybody at any time," Ms Chadha said.

"But the results that came in, in terms of it affecting the BAME community more, was particularly upsetting because of course it's going to affect me and my direct family.

"So I wanted to explore further to see what we could do about that and how we could help.

"Perhaps some of the messaging wasn't getting through to our Asian community so a few of us got together and decided to put this video out to personalise some of the government guidelines and the national health guidelines in a manner and in a way that might get through to our community more."

The video covers the key messages of staying at home, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and social distancing, as well as the importance of exercising regularly and eating healthily.

There is a clear message to "protect the elderly and vulnerable", calling on people to avoid physical contact and keep the elderly and vulnerable in separate rooms and use different bathrooms if possible.

The video also urges people to not meet up with extended family and friends.

"Doing so will save lives... and what could be better than that?" Ranvir Singh says.

Ms Chadha told ITV News that she believed coronavirus had been so devastating coronavirus in the British Asian community because "social-distancing and isolation just doesn't come easy to the Asian community.

"Parents are distressed at the idea of not seeing their grandkids in a way that is so palpable to us," she said.

Actress Nina Wadia, who starred in EastEnders and Bend It Like Beckham, said it was important that different communities realise the importance of social distancing.

“The excuse in our culture is, well ‘that’s what we do, we look after our elders,’” she told Nina Nannar.

“What you don’t realise is that you could be a carrier and you could be the one making them sick."

“So it’s trying to get them to understand what it is. It’s not something that’s going against your culture. It’s a virus that’s killing people young, old, ill, not ill, it doesn’t matter. It seem to be quite random.

“So the idea is to follow the guidelines and if you do that, you give your family more of a chance of being around for longer.”

Ms Wadia said there needed to be a deeper look into understanding why there had been such a high proportion of BAME people who have died with coronavirus.

She said: “I think we need to have an understanding as to why we don’t seem to have been protected as much.

“Is that to do with our place in society at the moment? Is it to do with the fact that perhaps we aren’t as privileged as others within the UK?

"There are questions that need to be asked and there are questions that need to be answered on this subject.

“And hopefully, as horrible as it is, it might allow our society in the future to be a bit more equal.”