LDCRE Vice-Chair Dr. Mohsin Khan's Coronavirus advice for BAME communities

8 Apr 2020

We all have a part to play to safeguard our friends and families.

Lockdown seems to be helping to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - but we mustn't stop until the Government says so. What we, our relatives, our families and friends, do now holds everyone's health at stake.

If we don't stay at home now, the lockdown could go on much longer - so everyone needs to keep following the Government's advice on staying at home.

Work from home if you can. Don't go to work unless you are a key worker and you really cannot work from home. Don't leave the house except for once daily exercise near your home and to shop for essential items. Don't visit friends or family who don't live with you, and stay at least 6 feet away from other people while you're out. And make sure to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap, which kills the virus.

This is important not just for you and your elderly or vulnerable relatives and friends - but for young and healthy people, who can also become seriously ill with the virus. The case of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died from coronavirus at the end of March despite having no underlying health conditions, is a tragic reminder of this.

There might also be increased risks for some ethnic minority groups. We just don't know yet.

Almost a third of people who become critically ill with coronavirus are from a BAME background - over double the proportion of BAME people in the UK population.

No one is sure why BAME people are more affected by coronavirus. There may be several factors including underlying conditions which are more common in BAME people, and higher levels of poverty.

Whatever the reason, what we can ALL do is follow the Government's rules on handwashing and staying at home to slow the spread of the virus.

Tell your friends and family: Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Dr Mohsin Khan is a mental health doctor and Vice-Chair of Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality. This post is not medical advice.

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