This is not ‘living well with coronavirus’

Amy Little


Our Head of Influencing Amy responds to the government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan.

Neal, resident, with a member of staff at Llanhennock Lodge

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on disabled and clinically vulnerable people, who remain much more at risk. In England, the government is set to abandon self-isolation after a positive test and this crucial measure must absolutely remain. Under current plans, disabled people are much more at risk from coronavirus. We are deeply concerned that disabled people are being treated as, at best, an afterthought.

Free coronavirus testing set to end

With free testing for coronavirus set to end for the general public, it seems that large numbers of vulnerable people – including lots of working age disabled adults – may not get the crucial testing they need to keep safe. Asymptomatic testing enables people to meet friends, family and colleagues – protecting themselves, and others. The government must, as a minimum, provide free testing for clinically vulnerable people regardless of age, as well as people who have support from carers and people living in care homes.

Is the ending of coronavirus restrictions terrifying or liberating?

The prime minister has announced all remaining coronavirus restrictions will end in England a whole month earlier than planned. We want to hear your views on what this means for you, your friends or your families.

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Disabled people are being left behind

Disabled and clinically vulnerable people must have priority access to treatment including antiviral drugs and future vaccinations. Vital personal protective equipment (PPE) must also be available for those most at risk. 

The removal of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one if people are unable to work due to coronavirus puts disabled and clinically vulnerable people at further risk from others. Infections will rise dangerously, as many people will be reluctant to self-isolate.

Many disabled people, and those who draw on social care, have felt understandably concerned and left behind during the pandemic. Under current plans, many disabled people will feel forced to isolate and therefore be separated from their communities, affecting their physical and mental health. This is not ‘living well with coronavirus’. 

Putting disabled people at risk

Government policies must ensure the safety and wellbeing of those most at risk. We see no evidence of an impact assessment for the government’s plans, which demonstrates, again, that disabled and clinically vulnerable people have been forgotten.

This is not acceptable and must be addressed without delay. The lives of disabled people cannot be put at risk.