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Government scientific: The document, from the scientific committee on behavioural science, known as SPI-B, includes a range of measures for public health messaging designed to reduce the impact of coronavirus on people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

They include avoiding “fear-inducing messages” about COVID-19, which the scientists said “may result in denial or avoidance as a coping mechanism,” especially among people who were obliged to go out to work in a frontline job.

Another recommendation suggested including people from diverse groups in messaging to avoid the perception of safety measures as “a white, middle class characteristic”.

Statistical reviews show that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are dying from coronavirus more frequently than other groups, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying the difference is disproportionate.

It is not known exactly why this is the case. Suggested reasons include existing health inequalities, housing and occupation. A report from Public Health England (PHE) found that structural racism could also play a part.

The committee advised tailoring messages about coronavirus to “reflect socio-cultural influences and drivers of behaviour” and suggested that they would be more likely to be received if they came from “someone known and trusted within BAME communities”, such as faith groups, community leaders, shop workers and taxi drivers.

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