The Liberal Democrats have exposed the Government's failure to collect data on the ethnicity of those being tested for COVID-19, and outcomes in terms of the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, and the number who have died.
Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Equalities spokesperson, asked the Department of Health for this key data, broken down by ethnicity. She received a response stating that that data is "not currently available in the format requested."
Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson said:
"The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities is deeply alarming. The Government must do everything in its power to understand what lies behind this worrying trend.
"It is shocking that the Government appear not to have collected data on ethnicity as part of their COVID-19 testing programme. This leaves a huge blindspot in terms of identifying patterns in the wider transmission of this virus. We should be collecting this information in real time, to allow for thorough analysis and to inform any strategies to protect vulnerable groups and reduce transmission.
"Relying on analysis of NHS data after the crisis has passed will be too late to inform Ministers' response to the pandemic."