The Mayor of London has released a series of coronavirus advice videos in several South Asian languages.

Sadiq Khan introduces the 90 second videos in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi which are then continued by others including Rajesh Agarwal, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business who delivers the Hindi video.

The clips underline the core values of face coverings, social distancing and hand washing in an attempt to reduce the impact of covid-19 on the South Asian community in London and beyond.

The initiative is in response to South Asian communities being among the groups disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, with higher fatality rates than the national average. The Greater London Authority (GLA) said that these Londoners “are more likely to be employed as key workers in frontline health and service industry roles.”

They also cited a recent study suggesting that “people from South Asian backgrounds in hospital settings are 20% more likely than white people to die from covid-19.”

Professor of Diversity in Public Health, Gurch Randhawa told the London Assembly’s health committee last month that public health messaging such as this could have helped reduce the spread of the virus.

Commenting on the release of the videos, he said: “Tailored messaging to reflect the diversity of London’s population is welcome. This is vital in ensuring we can manage the pandemic effectively.

“The UK government’s covid-19 action plan should have been cognisant of diversity and equality issues from day one but sadly this has not been the case."

Sadiq Khan, who is the son of Pakistani immigrants, has advocated for non-English speakers in the UK to learn the language however the videos seem to be a recognition that a bespoke approach might be needed during a pandemic.

He said: “From key workers on the frontline to families staying at home, London’s South Asian communities have made extraordinary sacrifices to help stop the spread of the virus.

“We know that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected South Asian Londoners and yet, at a time when access to clear and accurate information is more important than ever, this Government is failing them.

“A person’s ethnicity should never mean the difference between life and death and Ministers must do more to ensure reliable guidance in accessible formats is available to all.”