Covid-19 in UK: Number of Indian-origin victims rises to 665
The ‘Indian’ category has registered the highest death toll of 665, followed by ‘Caribbean’ with 601 deaths and ‘Pakistani’ with 448 deaths.Updated: May 14, 2020, 19:35 IST
New figures released on Thursday show that the number of people dying of coronavirus and categorised as ‘Indian’ rose to 665 in England as of May 12, while the UK-wide death toll rose to 33,614 with a cumulative number of positive cases of 233,151.
The ‘Indian’ category has registered the highest death toll of 665 among minorities, followed by ‘Caribbean’ with 601 deaths and ‘Pakistani’ with 448 deaths. Some London boroughs and towns with large concentration of people of Indian origin are among the worst affected by the pandemic.
The grim list of Indian heritage includes medical professionals such as Poornima Nair, Jitendra Kumar Rathod, Manjeet Singh Riyat, Krishan Arora, Rajesh Kalraiya, Pooja Sharma, Jayesh Patel, Vivek Sharma, Kamlesh Kumar Masson, Amarante Dias, Sophie Fagan, Hamza Pacheeri and Amrik Bamotra.
The Boris Johnson government has instituted an inquiry into the disproportionate number of deaths in the Indian and non-white communities in the UK, described in official discourse as BAME (black and Asian minority ethnic) communities.
Some confusion reigned after the four constituents of the UK – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – changed or retained lockdown curbs from Wednesday. The ‘stay home’ core message was lifted in England, but retained in Wales and Scotland.
In London, mayor Sadiq Khan warned that without a rescue package from the government, services on the Underground and buses will have to be reduced drastically. There has been a major drop in the use of the usually buzzing transport networks in the capital.
Khan said: “Over the last two months we’ve lost more than 90% of our fares and advertising is down and so is the congestion charge. So we’ve been spending £600 million a month, paying for services and getting nothing back from our customers, or very little”.
A Downing Street spokesperson responded: “It is a commercial discussion. We remain in close contact with the mayor and Transport for London to look at how we can support them. Our priority is on reaching an agreement which keeps critical services running for those passengers who must use public transport to get work, ensuring we keep London moving safely”.
Meanwhile, health minister Edward Argar called Public Health England approving an immunity test for coronavirus a “game changer” that could allow more people to go to work with confidence. The test has been developed by Swiss healthcare major Roche.
The test shows the presence of antibodies to the virus in the blood and proves whether a person is immune. But for how long that immunity lasts is still uncertain.
John Newton, coordinator of UK’s coronavirus testing programme, told The Telegraph that experts had confirmed 100% accuracy of the test: “This is a very positive development, because such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection.”
“This in turn may indicate some immunity to future infection, although the extent to which the presence of antibodies indicates immunity remains unclear.”