UK

Coronavirus: 'Scandal' BAME review recommendations 'buried'

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Media captionDavid Lammy condemns 'buried' BAME coronavirus recommendations

It is a "scandal" that the recommendations of a report on the impact of coronavirus on people in black, Asian and minority communities have been "buried", an MP has said.

A leaked Public Health England draft cited racism as a possible factor in why people of such backgrounds are at increased risk of dying of the virus.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said it was "horrifying".

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the report would be published next week.

The review, the second by PHE on the subject, pointed to discrimination as a root cause affecting health and the risk of both exposure to the virus and becoming seriously ill as a result of it.

It found that historic racism may mean people were less likely to seek care or demand better personal protective equipment, while other potential factors included risks linked to occupation and inequalities in conditions such as diabetes.

Mr Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, told The Andrew Marr Show it was hard for black and Asian people not to know someone who had died from the virus, adding that his uncle and a classmate had lost their lives.

"But the point is it is a scandal if one week Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock say black lives matter and then we find out today that they have buried part of the review that had the recommendations in it to do something about it," he said.

"It is no wonder why people are upset, this is a very, very serious business, the statistics are grim, again, you are in government do something about it - save lives."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to comment on the leaked report but said he believed it was due to be formally published next week.

Mr Lammy also told Andrew Marr that the prime minister's tweets about Winston Churchill's statue, and the risk to it from anti-racism protesters, were a deflection from the issues at hand.

He said: "He's never tweeted eight times in a day on coronavirus, he's never tweeted eight times in a day on the Windrush review or what he's going to do about it, or on the review that David Cameron asked me to do on disproportionality in the criminal justice system and what he's going to do about it.

"This feels to me like a bit of a deflection. Let's get to the action, let's have some substance, let's do something about these historic injustices that still exist in our country."

A recent review confirmed that the risk of death from Covid-19 is higher for ethnic minorities. PHE found that people of Bangladeshi heritage were dying at twice the rate of white Britons, while other black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had between 10% and 50% higher risk of death.

Hospital trusts and other health service bodies have been asked to prioritise risk assessments for BAME staff and other vulnerable groups. But BBC research has found that hundreds of doctors still have not had a risk assessment.


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