Black, Asian and minority ethnic health workers require extra care during the coronavirus second wave, a minister has said as the human rights watchdog launches a structural inequality investigation. 

Care minister Helen Whately made the warning in a speech at the annual Association of Directors of Adult Services conference on Thursday. 

She said the Covid pandemic has “highlighted” inequalities between BAME healthcare workers, who are at increased risk from Covid-19, and their their white counterparts.

“We must pay extra care and attention to those who may be at greater risk,” Ms Whately said.

Her comments come as Britain’s human rights watchdog began an inquiry into inequalities against people from BAME people working in health and social care.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it would consider the “structural issues which have left people from a range of ethnic minorities at greater risk” across England, Scotland and Wales.

It comes after a study commissioned by Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, last month found that black people are at almost twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 as white people.

The EHRC chief executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said the inquiry would help to answer questions about racial inequality “and make recommendations that can be applied to a number of other working environments where ethnic minorities are over-represented at the lowest-paid levels”.

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