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DR UK statement on Coronavirus

06 March 2020

DR UK has responded to recent Government advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

CEO Kamran Mallick says: "People with compromised immunity are well-versed in hygiene routines, including asking people with any symptoms of any virus to stay away, and practising good hand-washing hygiene. As far as we can tell at this stage, the same procedures apply for COVID-19.

"We are advising members to watch out for updates in advice from Public Health England and to act accordingly.

"We are calling upon the Government to ensure that, on top of a cash injection into social care for general care which is desperately needed, specific extra money is made available in the Budget to allow for the extra social care that would inevitably be needed for disabled people should an epidemic take hold.

"We are also seeking evidence that hospitals can cope with the most vulnerable cases in the event of mass infection.

"We would ask that those responsible for planning in social care and hospitals understand and provide for the fact that, if self-isolating, not everybody can be alone. Many disabled people need full-time carers, support with food provision, eating, drinking, getting up and mobilising. It is not as easy for members of our community as it is for the general public to simply say 'self-isolate'. Adequate provision must be made for those who cannot practically do this.

"We know that statistically thus far, it is those who have underlying health conditions who are bearing the brunt of the worst effects of this illness. Disabled people should not be seen as inevitable cannon fodder in the face of COVID-19. Our lives matter as much as the next person's."

Public Health England's advice is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Disability News Service's story on DPOs and COVID-19 is here: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coronavirus-disabled-people-must-not-be-seen-as-inevitable-cannon-fodder/