This is a report and survey analysis from Runnymede, the UK’s leading independent thinktank on race equality and race relations.
Results show that black and minority ethnic (BME) people face greater barriers in shielding from coronavirus as a result of:
- the types of employment they hold (BME men and women are overrepresented among key worker roles)
- having to use public transport more
- living in overcrowded and multigenerational households more
- not being given appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) at work.
In all of these areas, most BME groups are more likely to be over-exposed and under-protected compared with their white British counterparts.
- Employers should carry out risk assessments for staff with vulnerable characteristics, including those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, as well as those from disadvantaged communities.
- Employers should ensure that all key workers in public-facing roles have access to adequate PPE.
- The government should establish a tailored Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) programme which ensures that marginalised and BME communities who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus are identified and supported.
- Temporary housing, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and community shelters, should be made available to individuals to facilitate self-isolation of symptomatic individuals.
- The social security safety net should be significantly strengthened.
- The government should increase Statutory Sickness Pay (SSP) and broaden eligibility for SSP.
- The government must address the root causes of health, housing and employment inequality.