Diaspora deaths continue to rise in the UK

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Written by Sofia Eugeniou

Members of the Cypriot diaspora community continue to die with Covid-19 in the UK, a tragedy sending shockwaves through Cypriot communities both in the UK and on homeland.

With a population of roughly 300,000 Cypriots living in the UK (with around 200,000 of those living in London), latest figures estimate that Cypriots account for 5 percent of coronavirus deaths in London.

According to data outputs published in Parikiaki, a weekly Cypriot newspaper serving the Cypriot diaspora community in the UK, almost 300 UK Cypriots have perished from coronavirus in England.

Making national headlines was the death of Sonya Kaygan, a 26-year-old British Cypriot carer from working in Enfield. Passing from the virus, she left behind a three-year-old daughter.

But why is this tragedy happening?

Image credit Katia Christodoulou, EPA

Recent information focusing on trends surrounding Covid-19 deaths has highlighted how BAME individuals are at higher risk of passing from coronavirus than other ethnic communities.

The unfortunate impact on Cypriots in the UK is part of a wider trend of disproportionate deaths among ethnic minority groups, as reported and analysed by the New Statesman.

Ethnic communities, certainly those from Cypriot backgrounds, tend to live in tight-knit communities where multigenerational households are common. Visits between grandparents and children, attending the church, or going to the same shops, are all factors within an already urban lifestyle that contribute to an above-average death rate amongst Cypriot diaspora.

According to Parikiaki journalist Michael Yiakoumi, the majority of infections are thought to have occurred just before the lockdown in England took place.

National federation of Cypriots in the UK

Before the lockdown, UK Cypriots were holding and attending major events, such as weddings, christenings, funerals and church congregations. Large-scale events are common and something the community strive to keep alive. Unfortunately, this aspect of the Cypriot lifestyle is a breeding ground for infection.

Different experiences between those from the diaspora community and their ancestral counterparts place Cypriots all over the world in a time of sadness and mourning.

Source: Parikiaki

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