In response to growing evidence and concern that the COVID-19 infection is having a disproportionate adverse impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, the Welsh Government BAME Covid-19 health advisory group met for the second time today.
The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said:
“The loss of life of anyone is tragic. The emerging data around mortality rates is very worrying as it suggests BAME people are disproportionately losing their lives as a result of contracting Covid-19. This is of huge concern.
"There are many possible reasons for this disproportionality, such as higher rates of underlying health conditions, pre-existing inequalities, increased exposure to Covid-19 as the result of work they may do and other vulnerabilities. There is important work to be done to understand how this relates to the apparently higher level of COVID-19 mortality among people from BAME backgrounds.
“We have therefore established an advisory group, co-chaired by Judge Ray Singh and Dr Heather Payne to examine this issue. In addition, Professor Keshav Singhal will lead a sub-committee on health and social care workforce issues and risks, and Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna will lead a sub-committee on socio-economic issues relating to the BAME community and Covid-19.
“It is my hope that this approach will ensure we look at the broader context in which this disproportionality sits, consider fully all areas of vulnerability, and take action to protect those at risk”.
“I want to thank Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt for her work in developing a truly cross Government approach to assessing this issue, involving officials from equalities, the Chief Medical Officer, BAME communities, and the health workforce division.
“Finally, I wish to express my concern about this evolving picture. I am committed to ensuring that we learn quickly so we can best protect people in Wales from harm due to Covid-19, and I recognise my duty of care to all those who are working so hard in our health and care system to support the people of Wales.”