Covid-19’s impact on BAME Scots to be assessed by experts

Nicola Sturgeon announced a new expert group to study the effects of coronavirus on minority ethnic communities.

Covid-19’s impact on BAME Scots to be assessed by experts Getty Images
Covid-19: Effects on BAME communities to be studied.

An expert group is to be established to study the effects of Covid-19 on minority ethnic communities in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister announced the move as she revealed seven more people have died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the first increase in deaths in Scotland since Saturday.

Despite the rise in deaths, Sturgeon said the figure is still a “further indication of a clear downward trend” in the number of people dying with the virus.

The FM said she is establishing a new expert reference group made up of academics and Scottish Government officials who will assess the impact of Covid-19 in Scotland on minority ethnic communities.

She said Public Health Scotland’s preliminary analysis does not appear to show people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in terms of the impact on their health.

But she said findings in other parts of the UK have been different.

Sturgeon also said people from BAME backgrounds could be disproportionately affected by the social and economic impact of coronavirus.

She told the Scottish Government’s Tuesday press briefing her administration had already allocated more than £500,000 to groups that work directly in BAME communities.

“But we know we may well need to do more,” the First Minister added.

The new expert group will be able to make recommendations to ministers on what can be done to address any problems.

Sturgeon said: “It’s always essential at any time to listen to people from our ethnic minority communities, to work with them and to ensure that the polices we adopt and implement don’t have disproportionate and adverse consequences.

“It is, however, especially important at this time.”

Speaking during Carers’ Week, Sturgeon also highlighted the role of unpaid carers, saying the pandemic had “demonstrated again the importance of what you do”.

The First Minister went on to reveal initial data from the Scottish Government’s “test and protect” contact tracing system will be published on Wednesday.

That should include how many positive cases of Covid-19 have been identified through the scheme, how many people have had contacts traced and how many contacts are presently self-isolating.

She stressed anyone with symptoms of the virus – a new cough, a fever or a loss of smell or taste – should “immediately” book a coronavirus test.