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The impact of COVID-19 social distancing and isolation recommendations for Muslim communities in North West England

  • Hassan, Shaima M.1, 2
  • Ring, Adele1
  • Tahir, Naheed2
  • Gabbay, Mark1, 2
  • 1 Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3GL, UK , Liverpool (United Kingdom)
  • 2 NIHR Applied Research Collaboration NWC, Liverpool, England , Liverpool (United Kingdom)
Published Article
BMC Public Health
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 28, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-021-10869-8
Springer Nature


IntroductionPeople from Minority Ethnic backgrounds living in the UK are at greater risk of not only contracting COVID-19, but also experiencing serious consequences of the virus. These emerging health inequalities mirror those already evident in UK society.AimThe aim of this study was to understand how COVID-19 and the associated imposed restrictions affected the lives of people from the Muslim community living in the North West of England.MethodTwenty-five in-depth qualitative interviews and four focus groups (n = 22) explored individual experiences of COVID-19 and imposed restrictions. Data were analysed thematically.FindingsThe virus and associated imposed restrictions had negative impacts on the psychological wellbeing of participants, their families and the wider community. Worry and low mood were particular features of participant’s pandemic stories. Main concerns were those of contracting and transmitting the virus to others and employment-related difficulties. Low mood was particularly linked to the impact of restrictions on fundamental interactions embedded within cultural and religious practices. These practices are central to feelings of belonging and connectedness within the Muslim community. Religious beliefs were important in helping to mitigate psychological distress for some participants.ConclusionPsychological distress was associated with COVID-19 virus and impact of COVID-19 restrictions on livelihoods and fundamental human interactions. Better provision of culturally appropriate information, improving local channels of communication and practical support are important during times of pandemic when usual support systems may be disrupted.

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