The Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom has emerged as the ethnic group worst affected from the Covid-19 pandemic, PTI reported on Thursday, quoting Britain’s National Health Service.
Figures released by the NHS England last week showed that of the 13,918 patients who died in hospitals till April 17 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, 16.2% were of black, Asian and minority ethnic, or “BAME”, backgrounds. Those of Indian ethnicity made up 3%. The ethnic population in Britain is about 13%.
The Caribbeans were the second-largest ethnic group affected by the coronavirus at 2.9%, followed by Pakistanis at 2.1%. “We have seen, both across the population as a whole but in those who work in the NHS, a much higher proportion who’ve died from minority backgrounds and that really worries me,” United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock said while releasing the figures.
The British government had decided to conduct a review into the higher rate of deaths from Covid-19 in populations with black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, council chair of the British Medical Association, which lobbied for the review, said the government must act to address the “devastating disparity” and protect people of all ethnic backgrounds equally.
“It also means taking vital steps now to protect our BAME communities until we can develop a detailed understanding of the threats they face,” he added. “This could include that those at greatest risk, including older and retired doctors, are not working in potentially infectious settings.”
The United Kingdom has so far reported over 1,39,000 cases of Covid-19, and more than 18,700 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.