Downing Street announces review into why ethnic minorities worst hit by coronavirus

A formal review into why people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus has been announced.

A spokesman for the prime minister said the NHS and Public Heath England (PHE) would take the lead in the investigation.

There has been calls for an investigation into why such a high number of minority ethnic groups dying from coronavirus - both on the frontline and the general public.

On the review, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We have seen, both across the population as a whole but in those who work in the NHS, a much higher proportion who've died from minority backgrounds and that really worries me.

"I pay tribute to the work they've done, including those who were born here, moved here, and given that service to the NHS.

"It's a really important thing that we must try to fully understand."

  • Matt Hancock announces review into BAME coronavirus deaths

Doctors have said preexisting inequalities in health and healthcare and may be a reason why more ethnic minorities seem to be affected.

Dr David Bailey, from The British Medical Association, said the difference in the number of BME doctors being affected is “stark” and called for an investigation.

He said: “We absolutely need to know that because we need to be able to advise our members whether or not they need to treat themselves differently in terms of their risk profiles.”

TUC Wales said the pandemic is hitting people who are poorer harder, and that language barriers have impacted how quick information has been fed to certain communities.

The first ten doctors to die of coronavirus in the UK were from BME backgrounds.

Shavanah Taj, of TUC Wales, said: “BAME people do tend to be in a lower socioeconomic category, tend to be poorer, live with extended families, so the two meeting rule is very difficult to apply.

"Right from the start in all of this one of the things we were saying to government was one of the key things that needed to happen was some of the info in the public domain, it needed to be provided in a number of different languages.

“In some instances, people were relying on information coming from other parts of the world to understand the impact of the virus - the information fed to BAME communities was much slower.”

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