Government urged to protect BAME people as Covid second wave hits

Tragic victims from BAME communities who sadly passed away after contracting Covid-19

The government has been accused of failing to carry out key recommendations to protect Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities from Covid-19, as fears mount over a second wave.

It has been over six months since reports were first published confirming these groups were disproportionately affected by coronavirus. However, critics say little has been done to reduce the risk despite clear actions being outlined in the reports.

A third (33%) of coronavirus patients in intensive care are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, whist only accounting for 14% of the population.

This has prompted the head of the British Medical Association, Chaand Nagpaul, to warn that government inaction will be responsible for further disproportionate deaths.

Mr Nagpaul said he was “deeply concerned” that nothing has been heard from the government around any specific action following the reports, some of which could have been implemented immediately.

He said: “We are continuing to see BAME people suffering disproportionately in terms of intensive care admissions, so not acting means that we’re not protecting our vulnerable communities. Action was needed back in July and it’s certainly needed now more than ever.”

“As the infection rates rise, there’s no reason to believe that the BAME population will not suffer again because no action has been taken to protect them. They are still at higher risk of serious ill health and dying.”

Labour MP Marsha de Cordova, shadow women and equalities secretary, slammed the government for “failing” to safeguard BAME groups.

She said: “This government has failed to act to protect Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities since this health crisis began six months ago. During that time we have seen copious amounts of evidence and recommendations, all of which point towards clear actions that the government must take.”

Read more: Risk of death from coronavirus is twice as high for ethnic minorities

“The latest evidence suggests that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people are still disproportionately impacted by the virus but the government is still not doing enough and must instigate an action plan immediately.”

A government spokesperson said: “The equalities minister (Kemi Badenoch) is taking forward vital work to tackle disparities and protect our most vulnerable communities from the impact of the virus.”

“This work will continue throughout 2020 and 2021 and the first of the quarterly updates will be provided to the health secretary and the prime minister in the coming weeks. This will show progress made against the published terms of reference and action taken to tackle Covid-19 disparities.”