Labour’s Diane Abbott MP and anti-racist campaigners have voiced against the premature end to the lockdown. A joint statement highlighting particular concern at the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities has been signed by MPs including Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Dawn Butler, trade union general secretaries and others.
The statement also demanded a public inquiry, similar to the Macpherson inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder, into the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on BAME communities.
There are reports that the UK government may announce an easing of the lockdown and financial reductions of the government’s furlough scheme on Sunday. The UK has reported 207,977 COVID-19 cases in, with 30,689 deaths, highest in Europe.
“This government has never put the public’s health first. We now have the worst death toll in the whole of Europe yet ministers are threatening to force people back to working, including by cutting wage subsidies. This is unacceptable. No-one should be forced to risk death to go to work,” said Diane Abbott, who is also the president of Stand up to Racism.
“I want to stress my support for an independent public inquiry on the subject of COVID-19, Black and Minority Ethnic persons, and the completely disproportionate level of deaths.”
The joint statement pointed out that if the lockdown is lifted or eased BAME communities will suffer even more.
“We are particularly concerned about any premature end to the lockdown in Britain which spuriously seeks to prioritise the economy and profit before controlling the infection and saving lives,” it further said.
BAME communities have formed 28 per cent of the overall death toll. Recent reports said that black people are four times as likely to die than white people, and the overall BAME communities were twice as likely to die.
A recent study found the proportion of BAME deaths in the health service to be 94 per cent among Doctors and Dentists, 71 per cent among nurses and midwives, and 56 per cent among healthcare support workers. Though, BAME workers forming the minority of all these categories.
Recent figures also show BAME people make up one third of Covid-19 patients in intensive care and double the average of households who have lost jobs and/or income.
People from BAME backgrounds make up around 13 percent of the UK population.