Ethnic minorities over-exposed to Covid-19: Runnymede report

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LONDON: People from ethnic minority backgrounds in Britain “face greater barriers” when trying to protect themselves from coronavirus, according to a report. The Runnymede Trust, a race equality think-tank, said Bangladeshi and black African people were most vulnerable, BBC has reported.

Jobs, households and using public transport are all said to be risk factors.

Dr Zubaida Haque

The government said it is working to help ethnic minorities, who have been disproportionately harmed by Covid-19.

There is growing evidence that people from those communities are at greater risk from the virus.

The Runnymede Trust also warned important public safety messages aimed at reducing transmission were currently not reaching all black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

The survey of 2,585 adults in Great Britain, including 750 from BAME backgrounds, suggests ethnic minorities are “over-exposed” because they are more likely to live in multigenerational households, which can reduce the ability to self-isolate and shield from the virus.

Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black African groups are said to be the most likely to live in “overcrowded housing”.

And more than a quarter of people from BAME backgrounds classified themselves as a “key worker” (28%), compared with 23% of white British people questioned in the same survey.

BAME key workers were also more likely to report feeling as if they had faced additional risks through not having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

“While we have all faced the same storm, we are not in the same boat.” said Dr Zubaida Haque, interim director of the trust.

“Our findings explain why we are seeing outbreaks in places like Leicester, densely populated areas with multigenerational households. Many people are also struggling to pay bills so have to leave their homes to work.

“Temporary housing and financial support should be made available to facilitate those who need to self-isolate.”

The report also found ethnic minorities are less likely to know about government messaging like “Stay Home” and economic measures like the furlough scheme.