Charities warn extremely vulnerable being ‘left behind’ and fearful about lockdown restrictions ending
One in two disabled people feel unsafe about Covid-related restrictions easing from next Monday, research suggests.
Only 2% of 565 people surveyed by disability equality charity Scope said they felt safe, while just over half said they were anxious.
Two thirds of respondents said they did not think disabled people had been considered by the Government in making the decision on lifting many of the restrictions.
Scope said its research found that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to continue limiting contact with friends and family after Monday.
They were also more likely to avoid public transport and restaurants and keep social distancing, said the report.
James Taylor (pictured), Scope’s executive director, said: “We know there are some disabled people who are looking forward to things opening up and relieved to return to some sort of normality, but there are many who are feeling worried about what the future holds.
“These stark findings show that in the rush to unlock, a huge proportion of the disabled community are yet again being forgotten and left behind by Government.
“What’s being dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ by some will mean the exact opposite for many disabled people, who have legitimate fears about their risk from Covid-19 as infection rates surge. We’re in danger of creating a two-tier society.
“Government guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people has essentially advised people to continue to shield, but with any support stripped away. This lack of support will leave those most at-risk high and dry.
“We need to see much better guidance from Government, and communication with disabled people.”
A separate study by disability charity Sense confirmed that many disabled people are anxious and fearful about lockdown restrictions ending.
Most would feel more comfortable going out in public if safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing were maintained, the charity said.
Sense chief executive Richard Kramer said: “As the country looks forward to life beyond lockdown, many disabled people will remain behind closed doors, isolated and cut off from their communities.
“The end of lockdown restrictions will cause fear and anxiety for disabled people across the country, many of whom are clinically extremely vulnerable, and continue to fear for their health as Covid cases rise.
“We need urgent clarity and a dedicated recovery plan for disabled people and their families to make sure they have the care and support they need as we move out of lockdown.”
Meanwhile, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said around 2.6 million people with lung conditions in England are scared about accessing essential medical care after restrictions are dropped.
A survey of more than 650 people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) showed that almost three in five are more anxious about getting NHS care after July 19.
Most respondents said they thought restrictions are being eased too quickly and that the legal requirement to wear a face covering should remain.
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