Posted: Thu 7th May 2020

First Minister of Wales expresses worries over high BAME coronavirus death rate as taskforce meets for second time

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Concerns have been raised over growing evidence which shows that the coronavirus is having a disproportionate adverse impact on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.

The Welsh Government previously revealed that many health and social care workers who have died from COVID-19 were from BAME backgrounds.

The reasons for the greater impact are not yet fully understood, but it has been suggested it could be because people from such backgrounds have higher rates of underlying health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

As a result, the government has set up a special advisory group to look into the issue.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has issued a statement after the group met for the second time today.

He said: “The loss of life of anyone is tragic. The emerging data around mortality rates is very worrying as it suggests BAME people are disproportionately losing their lives as a result of contracting Covid-19. This is of huge concern.

“There are many possible reasons for this disproportionality, such as higher rates of underlying health conditions, pre-existing inequalities, increased exposure to Covid-19 as the result of work they may do and other vulnerabilities.

“There is important work to be done to understand how this relates to the apparently higher level of COVID-19 mortality among people from BAME backgrounds.”

The group is co-chaired by Judge Ray Singh and Dr Heather Payne with two sub committees set up to examine health and social care workforce issues and socio-economic issues relating to the BAME community.

Mr Drakeford added: “It is my hope that this approach will ensure we look at the broader context in which this disproportionality sits, consider fully all areas of vulnerability, and take action to protect those at risk.

“I want to thank Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt for her work in developing a truly cross government approach to assessing this issue, involving officials from equalities, the Chief Medical Officer, BAME communities, and the health workforce division.

“Finally, I wish to express my concern about this evolving picture. I am committed to ensuring that we learn quickly so we can best protect people in Wales from harm due to Covid-19, and I recognise my duty of care to all those who are working so hard in our health and care system to support the people of Wales.”

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