It is a “scandal” that the recommendations of a report on the impact of coronavirus on people in black, Asian and minority communities have been “buried”, an MP has said.
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said it was “horrifying”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the report would be published next week.
The review, the second by PHE on the subject, pointed to discrimination as a root cause affecting health and the risk of both exposure to the virus and becoming seriously ill as a result of it.
It found that historic racism may mean people were less likely to seek care or demand better personal protective equipment, while other potential factors included risks linked to occupation and inequalities in conditions such as diabetes.
Mr Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, told The Andrew Marr Show it was hard for black and Asian people not to know someone who had died from the virus, adding that his uncle and a classmate had lost their lives.
“But the point is it is a scandal if one week Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock say black lives matter and then we find out today that they have buried part of the review that had the recommendations in it to do something about it,” he said.
“It is no wonder why people are upset, this is a very, very serious business, the statistics are grim, again, you are in government do something about it – save lives.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to comment on the leaked report but said he believed it was due to be formally published next week.
On Saturday, the British Medical Association sent a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, asking why pages with recommendations to safeguard BAME communities had been “omitted” from the first report.
In a letter, the head of the doctors’ union, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, CBE, called for the recommendations to be published immediately, to tackle “the disturbing reality that the virus is causing disproportionate serious illness and deaths in the BAME community”.
A recent review confirmed that the risk of death from Covid-19 is higher for ethnic minorities. PHE found that people of Bangladeshi heritage were dying at twice the rate of white Britons, while other black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had between 10% and 50% higher risk of death.
Hospital trusts and other health service bodies have been asked to prioritise risk assessments for BAME staff and other vulnerable groups. But BBC research has found that hundreds of doctors still have not had a risk assessment.