British South Asians suffer heavy toll as coronavirus surges

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Her sister Halima had died from cancer at 40, and in accordance with Muslim principles, she washed her sibling’s body one last time, with water, before laying her to rest.

As the United Kingdom struggles to contain another devastating wave of the coronavirus, Begum, 46, along with a team of volunteers, has been working across East London to ensure the last rites of a mostly South Asian Muslim community are observed.

The first national lockdown implemented last March saw mosques across the country close, leaving funeral directors and volunteers initially uncertain over whether they could safely practise traditional burying rites.