By Grahame Anderson

The Independent SAGE group review into examining the disproportionate effects on the BAME community from coronavirus has made 11 important recommendations to the Government.

Created to shadow the Government’s official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the prominent group of scientists has wasted no time in telling Downing Street it must act now.

Its report concluded ‘groups are at greater risk of dying from the disease because of a complex crossover between “socio-economic disadvantages, high prevalence of chronic diseases and the impact of long-standing racial inequalities’.

They believe eight of their short-term proposals can be implemented now to safeguard minorities against a second spike of coronavirus.

This follows on from those  Public Health England recommendations given to the Government at the end of May. None of these have yet been implemented.

This independent body of scientists and former scientific advisers have produced much more detailed guidance in order to protect BAME individuals as much as possible.

Given the recent lockdown in Leicester they say temporary accommodation should be made available for those who live in overcrowded and multi-generational households.

What’s more, they’ve called for tailored test and trace systems to make sure they reach marginalised BAME communities as quickly as possible.

Longer term recommendations include solving health inequality problems in deprived areas, and addressing employment disparities highlighted in the PHE review.

Here’s the complete list of recommendations.

  • Occupational risk assessments to be made available for all staff, with personal protective equipment provision for all workers in public facing roles
  • Creating a tailored find, test, trace, isolate support (FTTIS) programme
  • A better social security safety net with barriers for migrants accessing essential benefits
  • The provision of more housing and emergency financial support for necessary isolation during COVID-19
  • A reversal of NHS charges for all new migrants and all levels of workers in the NHS, and the removal of all-data sharing obligations between NHS and the Home Office
  • Mandatory data on ethnic background in all health and social care contexts
  • To undertake and publish all equality impact assessments on previous and new Government measures in relation to COVID-19
  • The need for NHS Trusts to undertake an independent review of racial inequalities and discrimination in the NHS
  • Co-creating strategies and policies for primary prevention, secondary prevention and local outbreak control with BAME communities.
  • Health inequality must be tackled now
  • Tackle employment inequality

A Government spokesman said: “We know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people from BAME backgrounds and we are determined to take the right steps to protect them and minimise their risk.

“We have already implemented significant measures to protect communities and, following the findings of the Public Health England reports published this month, the equalities minister is now taking forward vital work to tackle these disparities and protect our most vulnerable communities from the impact of the virus.”