One billion people with disabilities affected by viruses, says Antonio Guterres

UNITED NATIONS: The UN leader said on Wednesday that the billion people living in the world are among the most affected by the country and asked that they have the same access to the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

General secretary Antonio Guterres He said the pandemic is revealing the extent to which people are marginalized and is intensifying inequalities that people with disabilities already face, such as poverty and higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.

His video message was published along with a UN report saying that people with disabilities are estimated to represent 15% of the world population and 46% of the world people who are over 60 years old.

He noted that Covid-19 is often more severe in people with existing problems, increasing their chance of dying. And the disabled and the elderly who live in homes and care institutions are particularly vulnerable, as they may face barriers to medical care, good hygiene and social distancing.

In some countries, Guterres said, decisions about rationing health care are based on discriminatory criteria such as age or assumptions about the quality or value of life based on disability.

We cannot let this continue, he said. We must ensure equal rights for people with disabilities to access health care and life-saving procedures during the pandemic.

The report outlined actions to protect people with disabilities from contracting the virus and address the impact of blockages, physical estrangement, and isolation.

He called for greater support and political commitment to ensure that people with disabilities have access to essential services, including immediate health and social protection services, to overcome the crisis.