Tuesday, 2 June 2020

We demand action on the disproportionate impact Covid-19 is having on BAME groups

The disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on people from BAME groups is extremely alarming.

My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have written to the Prime Minister to express our grave concern at the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on people from black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds and are urging the government to take urgent action now to address this.

Whilst we welcome the Government’s report into the impact of the coronavirus on BAME people, there must be full scrutiny of this process by MPs right across the political spectrum.

That is why we continue to call for a cross-party taskforce to oversee the review process and monitor the roll out of measures required to tackle this issue.

Further immediate action must also be taken to support BAME people vulnerable to and facing this crisis now:

Safety at Work

Around two thirds of healthcare staff who have died are from a BAME background whereas they make up 20% of the overall workforce.

People from BAME groups make up a significant percentage of those on the frontline. Their protection is paramount, yet the shortfalls in personal protective equipment and access to testing during this crisis have, at times, been shocking.

Around two thirds of healthcare staff who have died are from a BAME background whereas they make up 20% of the overall workforce.

Adequate PPE equipment, in line with WHO standards, must be provided to prevent coronavirus outbreaks among NHS workers in wards treating COVID-19 cases, those treating other conditions, and for care workers, both in care homes and those providing domiciliary care.

The Government must also ensure that all risk assessments by employers include an Equality Impact Assessment considering the higher risk for BAME people in general and BAME people with additional vulnerabilities specifically.

At the same time, the Government's recent announcements around the return of “those who cannot work from home” to their workplaces is putting BAME individuals at disproportionate risk.

That's why we are urging the government to work closely with relevant authorities and the necessary resources to prevent overcrowding on public transport and to provide alternative means of transport to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all commuters.

Safety in Schools

The Government must review the proposed ‘Back to School’ plan with regards to BAME children

The Government has failed to consult with school leaders, teachers, and unions on the details of its guidance for reopening schools, and that’s just not good enough.

Current communications from the Government on schools do not recognise the specific risks that BAME children may be exposed to, nor how this can be managed.

That's why we are urging the Government to review the proposed ‘Back to School’ plan with regards to BAME children who may be exposed to the virus and transmit it either at home to their families or to BAME teachers and other school staff.

We are also calling on the Government to publish all scientific advice it has received on this, and for a guarantee that all children, of all ages, will be given the equipment and funding to learn safely, either at home or in school.

Research

Further research into why BAME people are so disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is needed as a priority

Researchers working on behalf of NHS England analysed the NHSX data of over 17.4 million adults in the UK and found that, compared to white people, BAME people were at a higher risk of death from COVID-19.

Further research into why BAME people are so disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is needed as a priority in the long-term to ensure an effective response to the coronavirus crisis.

We are urging the Government to work to support such endeavours.

The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. We must all work together to ensure there are no blindspots in the UK’s response to this crisis.


Follow this link for more info: http://www.libdems.org.uk/bame-coronavirus