Oxford City Councillors Andrew Gant (group leader) and Mohammed Altaf Khan (deputy leader) have urged the Government to protect Oxford's BAME community against COVID-19 in a letter:
We welcome that the Government has announced it will launch a review into why BAME communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. There are some immediate steps the Government can take, right now, that will make a difference:
- Include the option to disclose your ethnicity and gender on the NHS’s coronavirus symptom survey online. This is a key opportunity to gather data, with people’s consent, to add to our understanding of what is happening.
- Commit to stepping up the delivery of PPE to NHS staff, as a high number of those who have died on the frontline recently are BAME.
- Commit to a firm timetable for the publication of this review, and the delivery of its recommendations.
A review is a good first step in taking action to address this. To make the review as effective as possible we urge the government to confirm that it will:
- Include economic, as well as medical, research.
- Include specific analysis and recommendations to better protect BAME staff in the NHS and social care.
- Make clear recommendations for actions, that the Government will firmly commit to enacting as a priority.
It is vital the Government commits to acting as soon as the review makes its recommendations. Swift and decisive action will save lives.
This must not become a political football. A cross-party taskforce should therefore be convened to make sure the action is taken following the review, including overseeing the rollout of any measures introduced to tackle this urgent issue.
We urge the Government to commit to taking these steps to keep all of our communities in Oxford safe.