The United Nations (UN) says one billion people living with disabilities worldwide have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who disclosed this in a statement, added that the implementation of the basic rights of such persons had deteriorated in light of the health crisis.
“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every aspect of our societies.
“Today, I would like to highlight how the pandemic is affecting the world’s one billion people with disabilities.
“Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access education, healthcare and income opportunities or participate in the community.
“The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities and producing new threats.
“People with disabilities are among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
“They face a lack of accessible public health information, significant barriers to implementing basic hygiene measures, and inaccessible health facilities,” Guterres said.
The UN chief noted the necessity of guaranteeing the implementation of the rights of people with disabilities, in particular, regarding their access to medical care.
He, therefore, urged governments worldwide to focus attention on such people in the fight against the pandemic.
The World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11.
To date, more than 3.6 million people have been infected with the new coronavirus across the globe and more than 257,000 have succumbed to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.