The University of Melbourne
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Recommendations for a tailored response for people with disability during COVID-19 - Statement #3

Version 2 2021-07-23, 06:26
Version 1 2021-07-23, 02:58
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posted on 2021-07-23, 06:26 authored by ANNE KAVANAGHANNE KAVANAGH, HELEN DICKINSON, Gwynnyth LlewellynGwynnyth Llewellyn, GEMMA CAREY

What happened in Melbourne over the last two weeks (July 2020) is a salutary warning for all Australians about the potential for coronavirus to spread and the ongoing risks for people with disability.

We have moved from a situation where State and Territory government responses are relatively consistent to one where there are differentiated responses even within the same State or city. This raises new questions about how to respond to the health, educational and social care needs of people with disability living in areas with high rates of infection, at the same time as how people with disability in other areas might be encouraged to return to pre-COVID-19 activities. It also shows the importance of planning so coordinated responses to emerging outbreaks can be rapidly mobilised, no matter where these occur.

With community transmission escalating this month, the Victorian government has implemented Stage 3 restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Hard lockdowns of high-rise public housing estates have also occurred in response to outbreaks in these environments. Importantly, there are now multiple clusters including a large outbreak in a school in Melbourne’s outer west as well as infections reported among aged-care workers. The situation is rapidly changing and it is critical that governments are able to respond to the needs of disabled people, as a priority.

We commend the Victorian government for its actions to protect and support residents now under lockdown in a highly complex environment requiring multicultural, health, mental health, aged care and family safety responses, as well as support for people with disability, their families and carers.

In this paper, we outline some immediate actions that Victorian and Commonwealth government agencies could do for people with disability, some of which may already be underway.

Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health
Position Paper #3 - 14 July 2020

Further information


NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health


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