Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

People of Jalsa: The First Line of Defense

Recent weeks has seen a resurgence of our all too familiar foe; Covid-19. The ‘-19’ provides a constant reminder of how long this unwelcome companion has lingered by our side, and equally, a reminder of the last year when our lives resembled some form of normality.

This year marks 3-years since the international Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) was at full capacity. Whilst not quite full capacity this year (numbers of external guests and non-UK residents is highly restricted), the sight of endless vehicles filing into this iconic field has rekindled memories of years gone by.

Yet, the presence of Covid-19 remains a lingering threat. Adeel Minhas from Greenford stands cheerful but resolute as part of a team of dozens of volunteers, forming the first line of defence in the collective ambition to prevent Covid-19 sneaking its way into proceedings.

‘We’re running lateral flow test stations and ensuring participants are double-vaccinated before they enter the registration area’

The team are clearly well-drilled and conscientious, knowing the disastrous impact that just one Covid-positive individual could have on the success of the event.

I ask what happens if someone at a testing station returns a positive result, causing Adeel’s cheerful complexion to morph into a steely determination, with his training clicking into gear.

‘We have a separate isolation area where we ask the individual to retest. If the retest is positive, we send them home.’

Adeel and his fellow team members will be on hand throughout the three days, ensuring it is Covid, rather than any attendees of Jalsa, that is forced to stay at home.