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Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL7039, tabled on 20 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the study by researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester on the impact of social determinants of health on patients with SARS-COV-2 infection in Birmingham, published on 19 July; in particular its finding that air pollution may have contributed to the impact of COVID-19 on BAME individuals.

Answered on

10 August 2020

Following the publication of the Public Health England review into the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 in June, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading work to better understand the key drivers of the disparities identified and the relationships between the different risk factors.

Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the United Kingdom and the Government is taking robust action to improve air quality and minimise public health impacts, as laid out in the Clean Air Strategy.

We are committed to improving our understanding of the possible links between air quality and COVID-19, to inform policy development. This will be supported by the recent National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation call for research proposals to investigate emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes. The Department of Health and Social Care continues to have extensive discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other departments on the relationship between health and air quality.