United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said the world’s 1 billion people with disabilities are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in terms of fatalities.

“The share of Covid-19-related deaths in care homes – where older people with disabilities are overrepresented – ranges from 19 per cent to an astonishing 72 per cent,” he said in a video message.

Guterres highlighted that persons with disabilities face a lack of accessible public health information, barriers to implement basic hygiene measures and inaccessible health facilities.

If they contract the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, “many are more likely to develop severe health conditions, which may result in death,” he said.

The UN chief launched a report that recommends a disability-inclusive response and recovery to the crisis.

“Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access education, health care and income opportunities or participate in the community,” he said.

“The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities and producing new threats,” he added.

Guterres also recently highlighted the impact of the crisis on older people and children, who he said are at a higher risk of death, abuse and malnutrition during the pandemic.


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