UK to record ethnicity to assess impact on Indians, minorities

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PTI

London

The UK government on Thursday laid out a series of measures as part of a review into the higher COVID-19 death rate among people of Indian-origin and other ethnic minorities, including a mandate for ethnicity to be recorded as part of the death certification process.

Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch made an oral statement in the House of Commons as she presented the first quarterly report to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock on progress to understand and tackle COVID-19 disparities on ethnicity grounds.

The report follows an official review set up in the wake of a Public Health England (PHE) analysis tabled in Parliament earlier this year, which concluded that older Indian-origin men fall within a higher risk category of coronavirus deaths in England along with other black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

“Today’s report marks an important first step in our journey to understand and tackle the disproportionate impact of COVID,”
said Badenoch.

“Access to the latest public health information and protections should be available to everyone. To ensure that is the case we have invested in a strong package of measures to target messaging, develop the data we have available and make sure everyone is as safe as possible at home or in the workplace,”
she said.

Besides an ethnicity column on death certificates, the other measures set out by the minister include a new “Community Champions” scheme, worth up to 25 million pounds, to provide funding to enhance existing communication strategies in the most-at-risk places and communities.