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Higher coronavirus death toll for low-paid workers

LOW-PAID workers in public-facing jobs are at a heightened risk of losing their lives to Covid-19, figures show.

The death rate is ‘significantly’ higher among bus drivers and carers compared with the general population, the Office for National Statistics said.

And the same applies to staff likely to have been at home during the lockdown such as waiters, chefs and chauffeurs — possibly due to exposure before the rules were imposed.

It has prompted calls for employees not to be ordered back to work until more safety measures are in place. ‘These figures are horrifying,’ said John Phillips, the GMB union’s acting general secretary. ‘If you are low-paid and working through the Covid-19 crisis, you are more likely to die.

‘Ministers must pause any return to work until proper guidelines, advice and enforcement are in place.’

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth (pictured) said: ‘Ordering people back to work without protection puts them and everyone else at risk.’

Security guards are particularly at risk, with a fatality rate of 45.7 per 100,000, reveals the ONS analysis of 2,494 virus deaths up until April 20.

Construction workers, taxi drivers and retail assistants are also more likely to die. And two-thirds of the 2,494 victims were men.

The coronavirus death rate for male social care workers is an estimated 23.4 per 100,000.

The government said it was working on a ‘comprehensive picture’ of social care worker deaths, and praised the ‘tremendous work’ of front-line staff.