Faith leaders have joined with health chiefs in urging the region’s communities to remain vigilant in the fight against coronavirus and stay safe by following new rules and guidelines introduced this week.
Laws preventing social gatherings of more than six people are now in place across England. But with Covid-19 cases rising quickly in some parts of the West Midlands additional local restrictions came into effect in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull earlier this week, which prevent different households from meeting up in their homes and gardens.
At the region’s latest Faith Briefing, a virtual event that has been held regularly since the start of the pandemic, religious leaders joined with Dr Justin Varney, Birmingham’s director of public health, in calling on communities to familiarise themselves with the new rules and follow the latest guidance on how to stay safe.
Dr Varney, who was joined by Manjit Kaur, co-chair of Coventry and Warwickshire SACRE, Ajitpal Lotay, Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash, Coventry and Deb Chamberlain, Love Black Country said: “The only way we can control the spread of this virus is through the decisions we each make as individuals. This means following the guidance, continuing to practice social distancing and washing your hands.
“We must all take action and take responsibility for what we can each do to help get this outbreak under control.”
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the briefings, added: “Over the past few months these Faith Briefings have provided a forum to share important advice with local communities and continue to do so.
“At this critical time as children return to school and more people go back to work the Briefings continue to inform communities and help us all continue to stay safe”
Throughout the pandemic West Midlands religious groups have been bringing together their communities to help the region get through the crisis. Vital voluntary services have been set up by the wide range of faiths to help anyone affected by the current crisis, regardless of belief.
Their good work is being supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which initially set up and hosts the regular online Faith Briefings.
The virtual round table provides faith leaders with the very latest information on Covid-19 from local authorities and public health experts, and on funding such as the Government’s support for the charity sector.
Manjit Kaur added: “Throughout Covid, faith communities have been fantastic at working together to share advice and resources. We are in this together, and we can only solve this together. Your actions impact on others, so make sure the effect you have is positive.”
The online faith briefings are open to everyone of all faiths and none, and can be accessed via https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1870413724226255632
In addition to the support for faith communities, WMCA is backing the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) and Birmingham City Council campaign providing guidance to firms which have struggled to access Covid-19 related support. A hotline can be accessed on 0121 274 3280.