UK's ethnic minorities more likely to die from COVID-19: The Guardian
In a recent opinion piece carried by The Guardian, Safiah Ngah lamented the fact that people from ethnic minorities were more likely to die from COVID-19 but Britain has been slow in dealing with structural racism.
To illustrate her point, she cited the death of her father, a Malaysian national who came to Britain in the 1970s and later settled here. He worked for the National Health Service (NHS) for nearly 40 years.
Citing new data from the Office for National Statistics, Ngah said her dad, a non-white person, was significantly more likely to die from COVID-19.
"His death and the deaths of so many others from 'minority' ethnic groups were the result of consistent and incontrovertible failures within government, and apathy towards the communities most affected by the virus. This apathy has unfortunately extended into the way the inquiry itself has been conducted," she said.
When the COVID inquiry began last year, she felt cautiously optimistic about its potential to allow families like hers, who have been bereaved by COVID, to understand the context within which their loved ones died.
"Sadly, the inquiry is refusing to look at the issue of structural racism, or listen to those who were bereaved. Families like mine are being let down all over again," she said.
The inquiry is terrified of touching the issue of race: it wouldn't even use the word in its terms of reference, she said, adding that the inquiry announced this month that structural racism would not be examined in its first module on pandemic preparation, as it would be an "impossible task."
"Structural racism is a challenging issue. It is also an issue that lies at the heart of the UK's high death rate, thus it is absolutely necessary to a thorough and fair inquiry into the pandemic. An inquiry that refuses to examine the most challenging issues is entirely redundant," she said.