JRS UK has again called for urgent measures to protect minority and marginalised communities during the pandemic as it emerges that a report containing measures to safeguard ethnic minority groups from coronavirus has not yet been published by government. Public Heath England (PHE) last week released a review into the effects of COVID-19 on different communities and risk factors. JRS raised concerns that this review lacked measures to protect and support ethnic minorities including refused asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants who are effected by COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates. It has now come to light that a second report, containing these safeguarding measures also exists and will be published next week, according to PHE.
JRS UK joins others in insisting on urgent measures to ensure that those most vulnerable are protected. Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK said: “It is by now clear that not all communities are affected equally by the pandemic. Amid growing evidence that Black, Asian and Ethnic minority communities are at greater risk, it raises serious questions that plans to protect these communities have yet to be published. This must also be put in the context that deprived communities are disproportionately affected. Structural inequality and marginalisation costs lives. It is beyond time for the government to act to ensure a safe place for everyone.”
The already published PHE review suggested that both migrant and homeless communities are at greater risk from COVID-19, but did not examine the root causes of this inequality. Connectedly, the report noted that vulnerable migrants and other excluded groups “tend to have the poorest health outcomes” due to “overlapping risk factors, such as facing barriers in access to services, stigma and discrimination” but are often “effectively invisible for policy and service planning purposes.”
This comes in the wake of new analysis from ONS showing that people in most deprived areas are twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than the most wealthy; adding weight to JRS UK’s calls for action to protect ethnic minorities including refused asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants who disproportionately suffer the effects of the pandemic.