Council asks for inquiry into effect of coronavirus on BAME communities in Basildon

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The leader of Basildon Council, Cllr Gavin Callaghan and chairman of the External Affairs, Partnerships and Liaison Committee, Cllr Aidan McGurran have written to Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health for Essex, requesting an inquiry into the impact the virus has had on BAME communities in Basildon borough and the effectiveness of local responses – saying Basildon Council will fully support this in any way it can.

While acknowledging that “this virus does not discriminate in terms of whom it infects,” Cllr Callaghan nevertheless said that, “national statistics show that certain ethnic groups (black people; people of Bangladeshi/Pakistani heritage) are almost twice as likely as people of white ethnicity to die from contracting Covid-19.

“This is a shocking statistic, and one that points to a failure to look after vast swathes of the communities we serve.”

Cllr Callaghan said local insight is needed, and that residents have expressed their concern about the disproportionate impact Covid-19 has had on certain communities.

“I am therefore writing to request that, in your capacity as the Director of Public Health for Essex, you conduct an enquiry into the impact the virus has had on BAME communities in our locale.

“I would suggest that the enquiry should not only consider the impact from a statistical point of view, but should also seek to understand whether the interventions put in place from a public health perspective were sufficient to mitigate the disproportionate impact Covid-19 has on these communities, as well as understand the effectiveness initiatives that were used to provide specific information and advice to our BAME residents.

“I would ask that this enquiry does consider these impacts at the local level – i.e. districts and boroughs – and not just countywide….I can assure you that Basildon Council will support this effort in any way it can.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]