Coronavirus: Human rights watchdog investigating impact of COVID-19 on BAME healthcare workers

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Britain's human rights watchdog is investigating the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it will consider the "structural issues which have left people from a range of ethnic minorities at greater risk" from coronavirus across England, Scotland and Wales.

It comes after a study commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan last month found that black people are at almost twice the risk of dying from COVID-19 as their white counterparts.

Research published by the Resolution Foundation think tank last month showed that around 22% of BAME workers who had been supported by government subsidies were unemployed in September, compared with a figure for the general population, which stood at 9%.

EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said the inquiry would help to answer questions about racial inequality "and make recommendations that can be applied to a number of other working environments where ethnic minorities are over-represented at the lowest-paid levels".

"This includes those on the front line who have been supporting all of us through the immense challenges we have faced this year," she added.

A call for evidence is set to be announced in the coming weeks, along with more information about an external advisory group, which will guide the investigation.