November 21, 2020
From Stand Up To Racism (UK)

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Politicians, campaigners & Trade Union leaders demand the urgent adoption of a Zero-Covid strategy and a public inquiry on COVID-19 BAME impact 
A statement calling for urgent action on the disproportionate impact of COVID19 on BAME Communities has been released today, signed by over 40 MPs, Trade Union leaders, campaigners and community representatives.

Pointing to the fact “Recent figures show 38.3 percent of Covid patients admitted to intensive care in the second wave have been from BAME backgrounds despite making up around 15 per cent of the total population,” the statement calls for a public inquiry into disproportionate impact, a range of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the adoption of a ‘Zero Covid strategy’ to prevent future waves of the virus on the scale we are currently seeing.
The statement also condemns “the whipping up of racism towards BAME communities and refugees to scapegoat and distract from the government’s failed response to the virus and its dire economic ramifications,” and calls for the removal of barriers to healthcare and pay support for migrants which have exacerbated suffering during the pandemic.
Due to the urgency of the situation, the statement also supports “the call for schools and colleges to close and for universities to move online during the national lockdown” in order to bring down infections to a point where the lockdown could safely be lifted, alongside “Immediate action to create a functioning test, track and trace system with funding given to local NHS public health teams.
Demands are also made for “proper financial support for communities including furlough to continue as long as necessary, more support for the self-employed and small businesses, and funding for schools, colleges and universities to support home learning.”
Signatories to the letter include MPs and peers from 3 parties including MPs Diane Abbott, Kate Osamor, Dawn Butler, Chris Stephens (SNP), Liz Saville-Roberts (Plaid Cymru), Labour Peer Peter Hain, trade union General Secretaries including Unite the Union’s Len McCluskey, representatives of campaign groups including Stand Up To Racism, Muslim Engagement & Development (MEND) and We Own It, as well as faith and community representatives.
Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said: 
“Despite the Black Lives Matter movement and the range of research into the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities, and how other countries have eradicated Covid19, here the virus is spiralling out of control and still disproportionately impacting BAME communities. No progress has been made by the government to address institutional racism and the range of factors causing this. We demand immediate action: zero covid – a strategy to eliminate the coronavirus, as successfully implemented in many other countries, and a public inquiry like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry into why BAME communities have been disproportionately impacted.” 
Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism Co-Convenor said:

“Disproportionate deaths of the black community is consequence of racism and deliberate negligence. Over 50,000 have died in the UK according to official government statistics, with the actual figure likely to be far higher. It is said that the dead have no tongues so the living must speak for them and demand justice. We want a full and open enquiry into disproportionate deaths and no cover-up. We will not rest until we get this “
Notes to Editors:
1. The statement and full list of signatories can be found here
2. Report on BAME ICU admissions with figures from Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre here
3. IPPR/Runnymede Trust report and recommendations here
For further quotes & information: