By Aasma Day
, a member of the House of Lords and pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Bolton, has also recorded a few videos in Urdu to explain issues around coronavirus and to clarify social distancing to people.
Some clarification, a plea and some advice- my message in Urdu for those communities where the message may still not be getting through
Please feel free to share #CoronaCrisisukpic.twitter.com/F890S8vYLT
— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) March 22, 2020
She told HuffPost UK that language barriers are more of an issue for the older generation in communities, particularly those in their 70s and 80s.
But she feels increasing awareness to people in other languages is a responsibility for everyone and that those who are bilingual or trilingual should play their part in educating people.
“At times of anxiety, people are much more reassured and are likely to heed messages in a language that they are familiar with.” she said. “It has a calming effect.
“I think spreading the message and increasing awareness is a responsibility that falls on all of us and not just the government.
“We can all amplify the messages that are going out and spread awareness in different languages.”
But language may not be the only obstacle for some communities.
She explained: “In societies where mixing with parents and siblings is a daily occurence, to suddenly not be able to see people is a big thing.
“For example, in the Asian community, when there is a birth or a death, a lot of people will go round to give their congratulations or pay their respects.
“Popping in to see people and sharing meals is a big part of Asian culture, so it is a big cultural shift to suddenly not meet up with people outside your own home.
“It fundamentally goes against the grain of everything they have ever done and the traditional way of life.”
But Warsi adds this social shift is difficult for everyone – not just Asian communities.
“When things are hard, your usual instinct is to go round and see someone.” she said to HuffPost UK. “But this is a unique situation where the correct measure is to not see people.
“Most people want to be together, but we are being told we need to stay apart.
“This is very difficult in every culture as isolation goes against human nature. But it is important everyone follows the measures so we can get through this.”