Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Labour, Brent Central

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the adverse effect of covid-19 on members of BAME communities.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

Guided by medical and scientific expertise, the Government has implemented significant measures to reduce the spread of the virus in all communities, especially those who may be at higher risk. This includes targeted testing of occupations and groups at higher risk; guidance for NHS organisations on how to enhance their existing risk assessments particularly for potentially at-risk groups within their workforce; and translating the latest information into multiple languages and forms to meet accessibility needs.

In April, the Department for Health and Social Care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to undertake a rapid review to understand how different factors have affected COVID-19 risk and outcomes. The report has some limitations - the ethnicity analyses did not, for example, adjust for factors such as co-morbidities. As Minister for Equalities, I am working with the Race Disparity Unit and the Department for Health and Social Care to carry forward work to identify and fill the gaps in PHE’s review; and work across government to take appropriate steps to mitigate disparities identified. The terms of reference for this work, which include quarterly updates to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on progress, were published on gov.uk on 4 June.

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