Search

Leading Tower Hamlets figures react to findings which lay bare the impact of coronavirus on BAME community

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:35 12 May 2020

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs calls for guidance on how to address the health inequalities that determines the impact of coronavirus. Picture: Tower Hamlets Council

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs calls for guidance on how to address the health inequalities that determines the impact of coronavirus. Picture: Tower Hamlets Council

Archant

Tower Hamlets’ leading figures have reacted to new analysis which reveals the impact of Covid-19 on the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) population.

Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, expressed frustration that the government is yet to address long-held concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME individuals. Picture: Mike BrookeApsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, expressed frustration that the government is yet to address long-held concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME individuals. Picture: Mike Brooke

The council — alongside local GPs and Queen Mary University — has been studying how the pandemic is affecting Tower Hamlets.

Their analysis shows that Asian residents are twice as likely to show signs of Covid-19, with those of south Asian origin 1.9 times more likely, when adjusted for age.

Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “Many of us have been raising concerns about the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on BAME people for weeks and weeks now — since the onset of the crisis.”

Ms Begum said that these new figures add to “the growing body of evidence”, and that “there must be no more delays or half measures”.

You may also want to watch:

Similar sentiments were echoed by mayor John Biggs in his recent letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, which demanded the government “take decisive steps to both investigate and, more importantly, act to resolve the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities”.

The mayor acknowledged that the borough’s diversity makes these findings especially worrying, adding that not only is he concerned in terms of “contracting the virus”, but also by expected “secondary impacts” such as poor mental health and loss of earnings.

National statistics reflect the local analysis; despite only accounting for 14 per cent of the overall population, 35pc of coronavirus patients in critical care beds are BAME. And 68pc of the 53 NHS staff who have died were BAME.

Though the mayor welcomes that Public Health England is set to investigate this issue, both he and Ms Begum believe this doesn’t go far enough.

Additional resources are needed for areas with large BAME populations, says Mr Biggs, while Ms Begum demands the government “urgently take action”.

The Poplar and Limehouse representative has been campaigning on this subject for several weeks, including raising the issue at the second reading of the Finance Bill in late April and filing an early day motion on May 4 — “Covid-19 and BAME communities”.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser