Guterres asks for inclusion of people with disabilities in Coronavirus

The U.N.’s leader said Wednesday the world’s 1 billion people living with disabilities are among the hardest hit by the Coronavirus and called for them to have equal access to prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

He asked for the inclusion of people with disabilities in COVID-19 response. ""I urge governments to place people with disabilities at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to consult and engage people with disability. Even in normal circumstances, people with disabilities are less likely to access education, health care and income opportunities or participate in the community, he said. People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, and they experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse, he added, noting that the Coronavirus pandemic has been intensifying these inequalities and producing new threats. People with disabilities are among the hardest-hit by COVID-19, Guterres said, adding that they face a lack of accessible public health information, significant barriers to implementing basic hygiene measures, and inaccessible health facilities.The share of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes -- where older people with disabilities are over-represented -- ranges from 19 percent to an astonishing 72 per cent, he noted.We cannot let this continue. We must guarantee the equal rights of people with disabilities to access health care and life-saving procedures during the pandemic," the UN chief said.Guterres mentioned that only 28 per cent of people with significant disabilities have access to benefits, and only 1 per cent in low-income countries.“We cannot let this continue,” he said. “We must guarantee the equal rights of people with disabilities to access health care and lifesaving procedures during the pandemic.” The report outlined actions to protect people with disabilities from contracting the virus and dealing with the impact of lockdowns, physical distancing and isolation. It called for greater support and political commitment to ensure that people with disabilities "have access to essential services, including to immediate health and social protection services, to tide over the crisis."

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