Responding to provisional analysis from the ONS showing that the risk of death involving the COVID-19 among some ethnic groups is significantly higher than that of those of white ethnicity, Liberal Democrat Equalities spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
"The disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on people from BAME groups is extremely alarming.
"The Government must address the entrenched socio-economic inequalities some communities face as an absolute priority. Ministers must commit to act urgently on any findings from the review into the disproportionate impact this virus is having on BAME groups. A cross-party taskforce must also be established to oversee the review, to ensure the process is truly impactful and actually serves BAME communities.
"The Government should be doing everything in its power to understand the factors contributing to this, yet they seem to be missing opportunities to do so. Liberal Democrats have repeatedly called for the Government to collect ethnicity data via the online NHS COVID-19 survey. They should also be collating this data for those who have been tested for COVID-19, to build a clearer picture of the prevalence of this virus in real time.
"People from BAME groups make up a significant percentage of those on the frontline, working in our NHS, care sector and key worker roles. Their protection is paramount, yet we are still seeing shameful shortfalls of personal protective equipment and testing. The Government must get a grip on these issues. It is not acceptable that people are risking their health to help those who are most vulnerable or gravely ill with COVID-19."