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Virus shield for those with disability

The more than four million Australians with disability in Australia have been assured of their safety during the coronavirus pandemic through their reduced exposure to the virus, while maintaining essential services.

The national cabinet – made up of the prime minister, premiers and chief ministers – when it last met on Thursday agreed on a management and operational plan for people with disability during the crisis.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the practical and comprehensive plan will save and protect some of Australia’s most vulnerable.

“Some people with disability are significantly more at risk of adverse health outcomes if they become infected with coronavirus than the general population,” Mr Hunt said in a statement on Saturday.

“This plan will ensure our support is joined up for these at risk groups.’

The plan addresses factors such as the reliance on close contact with carers and support workers, having a compromised immune system, and the presence of multiple underlying health conditions.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said an advisory committee with expertise across the health and disability sectors and people with lived experience, including Disability Discrimination Commissioner Ben Gauntlett, had overseen development of the plan.

‘All governments, the disability sector and the community play a role in minimising the risk of harm and protecting the rights of people with disability. This Plan provides us with the framework to do this during the pandemic,” Senator Ruston said in the joint statement.

Originally published as Virus shield for those with disability

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