UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus

UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus
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Volunteers clean and prepare the mosque hall. (Supplied)
UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus
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Rooms at the mosque have been furnished with beds and are nearly ready to receive the first patients. (Supplied)
UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus
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Dr. Mohammed Jiva teaches children who attend classes at the mosque how to wash their hands properly before the coronavirus lockdown. (File/Supplied)
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Updated 16 April 2020

UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus

UK mosque to care for end-of-life patients in fight against coronavirus
  • Jiva said the response to his call for volunteers and donations has been overwhelming, with 60 people volunteering their services and £10,000 ($12,485) raised in donations
  • He said the UK will struggle for health care facilities when it reaches the peak of the coronavirus outbreak

LONDON: A mosque in northwest England will open its doors to end-of-life patients at the end of April, in a community initiative that aims to free up hospital beds amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Masjid E Ghosia in Bolton temporarily closed to worshippers ahead of a lockdown in Britain that came into force on March 23 to prevent the spread of the virus. 
But its hall and 12 rooms, which are normally used for community functions and children’s Islamic classes, will instead provide end-of-life care to 23 people who need it, under the guidance of Dr. Mohammed Jiva MBE, 50, who came up with the initiative and is leading it.
He is being supported by a group of Muslim doctors, including Dr. Zahid Chauhan OBE, whose work with the homeless has been recognized by the queen, Bolton Local Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Sharif Uddin, and Dr. Rauf Munshi, a consultant acute physician at the Bolton National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust. 
Jiva, a fulltime GP who is also CEO of the Rochdale and Bury Medical Committee and the British Hajj delegation, came up with the idea of using the mosque premises to care for patients for whom hospitals feel they cannot do much.     
He said he wanted the mosque to continue being a community hub during the coronavirus pandemic, and to use its facilities to look after end-of-life patients to reduce the burden on local hospitals.
The idea was enthusiastically agreed to by the mosque committee, which had invited Jiva to advise them on putting in place restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before the lockdown was announced.   
“The committee wanted to see the mosque used for all faiths, not just Muslims, and give back to the community — not just the Muslim community but also the wider community,” he told Arab News. 
“They wanted the community to see that when it really comes down to a crisis, the mosque, its committee and its facilities are there at the community’s disposal to help it out.”
Jiva said based on experiences of countries such as Italy, Spain and France, the UK will struggle for health care facilities when it reaches the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. 
“It’s likely that there are certain cohorts of our community who are automatically going to be refused access to interventional health care because of their ages or their longstanding medical problems,” he said. 
“Difficult decisions are being made across the country about who out of a group of people will be given a ventilation bed based on the probability of their recovery. It’s a difficult decision and an ethical one that hospitals will have to make,” he said. 




Dr. Mohammed Jiva teaches children who attend classes at the mosque how to wash their hands properly before the coronavirus lockdown. (File/Supplied)


“If hospitals have patients who they feel they can’t do much for, they can discharge them. If discharging them back home or into care homes isn’t an option, they may want to consider using us, and we’ll provide them with care,” he added.      
“Although we’d prefer for people to be looked after in their homes, there will be cases of patients where the home environment isn’t adequate because they live alone, for example,” Jiva said.
“Even when the lockdown ends, there may be people who need to go out and work and can’t stay at home for 14 days because their end-of-life loved one has suspected or diagnosed COVID-19. If these patients came and stayed with us, their family would still be able to leave the house and go to work or wherever else they need to go.” 
Jiva said the response to his call for volunteers and donations to man and fund the initiative has been overwhelming, with 60 people volunteering their services and £10,000 ($12,485) raised in donations within weeks.
He has received calls and emails from all sections of society since writing a letter asking for people to volunteer. 
Volunteers include GPs, hospital doctors, nurses, opticians, orthoptists, pharmacists, non-medical professionals, and people who have no health care experience but are willing to use their facilities to help the project.
“For example, one of the main volunteers who works with me at the moment has a fleet of cars and vans that are grounded because of the lockdown, and he said he’d fulfil our transport needs — whether that be transporting goods or patients for free,” Jiva said.
“When the call for donations went out, we received thousands of pounds to help us buy the beds, chairs, desks, drugs cabinets, defibrillator machines and other things we needed to buy. It also gives us flexibility to employ professional staff to work at certain times of the day when we can’t staff the venue, especially as this will be an overnight facility. Many volunteers offer their services during the day and can’t work during the evenings.”
When asked how overstretched doctors and health care workers will find the time to volunteer at the mosque, Jiva said a rota system for volunteers that he is developing will allow the smooth running of the facility and highlight gaps in the provision of care that may need to be filled. 
“Certain doctors and health care staff have half days or days off from their work, during which they’ll volunteer. This is where we need to get the rota in place, so we can find the voids where we may need to incorporate professional employed staff to make sure we have 24/7 cover,” he added.    
“We have over 60 volunteers for now. If we need volunteers they’ll be forthcoming, and if we need funding that will also be forthcoming.”   


Global virus death toll passes 1.5 million as nations plan for vaccine

Updated 18 min 14 sec ago

Global virus death toll passes 1.5 million as nations plan for vaccine

Global virus death toll passes 1.5 million as nations plan for vaccine
  • US registers record of more than 210,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours
  • UN chief warns that even if vaccines are quickly approved, the world would still be fighting the pandemic’s aftershocks

WASHINGTON: The world passed the grim milestone of 1.5 million coronavirus deaths on Thursday, as several nations planned to deliver much hoped-for vaccines early next year to break the cycle of lockdowns and restrictions.

The total number of cases worldwide jumped to 65,127,355, according to the John Hopkins University of Medicine's coronavirus monitoring center.

US President-elect Joe Biden said that on his first day in office he would ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days to help reduce transmission of the virus that is again surging in the country with the world’s highest number of deaths and infections.
“I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask — not forever,” Biden said in excerpts of an interview to be broadcast on CNN later Thursday.
But even as the latest positive news about a vaccine was announced, with the Moderna candidate showing it confers immunity for at least three months, several countries marked new Covid-19 records.
The US, for instance, posted an all-time high of more than 210,000 new cases in a 24-hour stretch to Thursday evening, meanwhile notching more than 2,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
And Italy registered 993 deaths, topping its previous record of 969 earlier in the year when it was the first European country to be affected by the pandemic.

To build trust in vaccines after they are approved, the 78-year-old Biden said he was willing to be vaccinated in public — following up on similar commitments from former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Biden also used the interview to say he had asked the government’s top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci to join his Covid team and serve as a chief medical adviser.
But in a sign of the difficult work ahead, California announced new statewide bans on gatherings and non-essential activities, as hospitals in the nation’s most populous state face being overwhelmed.

The pandemic is showing little sign of slowing, with more than 10,000 new deaths recorded worldwide every day since November 24 — a rate never reached before, according to an AFP tally.
As the world tires of economically crippling restrictions, attention has turned to the race for a vaccine.
Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use, piling pressure on other countries to swiftly follow suit.
But Fauci said Britain “rushed” its approval process.
“In all fairness to so many of my UK friends, you know, they kind of ran around the corner of the marathon and joined it in the last mile,” he told CBS news.
He later walked back his comments, saying he had “a great deal of confidence in what the UK does both scientifically and from a regulator standpoint.”
Also on Thursday, a study showed that the Moderna vaccine, which was recently demonstrated to have 94 percent efficacy, causes the immune system to produce potent antibodies that endure for at least three months.
In anticipation of such vaccines being approved, France announced that its vaccinations will be free and begin in January for one million elderly in retirement homes, February for 14 million at-risk people and spring for the rest of the population.
France was also mourning the latest high-profile figure to succumb to Covid-19, former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who died at the age of 94.
Belgium’s government also said it intends to start vaccinating its most vulnerable in January.
But the raised hopes didn’t only garner the attention of governments — IBM said Thursday that hackers are targeting the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain.
The tech giant said it was “unclear” if a series of cyberattacks it uncovered against companies involved in the effort to distribute doses around the world had been successful.
IBM could not identify who was behind the attacks, but said that the precision of the operation signals “the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that even if vaccines are quickly approved, the world would still be fighting the pandemic’s aftershocks.
“Let’s not fool ourselves. A vaccine cannot undo damage that will stretch across years, even decades to come,” Guterres said while opening a special UN summit on the virus.
Guterres reiterated his call that vaccines be considered a “global public good” that are shared around the world.
More than 180 countries have joined Covax, a global collaboration initiative by the World Health Organization to work with manufacturers to distribute vaccines equitably.
A reminder of the pandemic’s society-altering effects came again Thursday with a landmark announcement from Warner Bros. studio, which said it will release its entire 2021 slate of movies on HBO Max streaming and in theaters simultaneously.
But some British football supporters were given a reminder of pre-pandemic days as Arsenal welcomed a crowd of 2,000 for Thursday’s Europa League win over Rapid Vienna.
It was the first time in 270 days that fans were back inside a Premier League ground.