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Shame and sorrow as UK's clinician deaths topped only by Russia

Monday July 13th 2020

The UK has suffered one of the highest loss rates of health and social care workers from the COVID-19 virus, according to a major global report published today.

Amnesty International said that 540 deaths in England and Wales alone represented more than a sixth of the 3,000 confirmed deaths globally.

The UK's record is only surpassed by Russia, where 545 deaths have been recorded, the campaign group said, accusing both countries of a failure to protect health and care workers.

Amnesty found 507 deaths in the USA and 351 in Brazil. Amnesty's report also highlights actions taken against health workers around the world to prevent whistleblowing about safety and the extent of disease. It cites cases in the USA, Russia and Egypt.

The report further highlights persecution of staff in some countries because of their contact with the virus, citing accounts in the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan.

Its UK director Kate Allen said: "It is tragic that we’ve seen so many of our dedicated health and social care workers in England and Wales die from COVID-19.

“We have to understand whether these deaths were avoidable, and what led to this terrible outcome.

“There appears to have been a catastrophic failure to provide proper PPE and a failure to grapple with the alarmingly high death rates among BAME health workers.

“This crisis is far from over and an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is urgently needed.

“We must learn lessons from this current crisis if we want to prevent future unnecessary deaths.”

Rachel Harrison, from the GMB union, said: "Health and social care workers have been on the front line throughout the covid-19 crisis, putting their lives at risk as Government failed to provide adequate PPE, pay and testing. It's no wonder so many have died.

"And when our members have raised issues and asked for the proper protection - they've been bullied by line managers and faced threats of disciplinary action.

"We have reports of GMB members in hospitals and care homes who in desperation bought their own PPE but were told by managers that if they wore it they would face action as it scared the visitors and residents."

Tags: Africa | Asia | Europe | Flu & Viruses | NHS | North America | South America | UK News

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