People with a disability feel abandoned by the Cabinet
The Cabinet's new long-term vision for dealing with coronavirus is leaving many people with disabilities or a chronic illness feeling apprehensive, according to Trouw. The virus still poses a major health risk to these groups, but advocates say the government is increasingly framing coronavirus as an "individual problem."
An expert at Ieder(in), a network for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses that collaborates with the Lung Fund and Dutch Patients Federation, expressed disapproval of the new plan. "Too little account is taken of people who are still at risk of health damage from coronavirus," said Illya Soffer, director of Ieder(in).
The new plan comes as mask-wearing is already no longer mandatory in much of the country. On Monday, people who self-test positive for Covid-19 will no longer be required to go to the GGD and their infections will not be registered. The government's tone is also changing as the virus is no longer filling hospital beds.
“What struck me in particular is that the long-term vision talks about 'fear' or about people who 'feel' vulnerable," said Chantal Bleeker, a doctor and infectious diseases professor at Radboud University. "Then you are not taking people seriously –– there are many good reasons why people don't want to get coronavirus."
For people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, the reason could be that their health and quality of life would be severely damaged for weeks or even months, Soffer told Trouw. She suggested solutions such as requiring masks in pharmacies and hospitals, preserving the option to work and take classes from home and encouraging people to take self-tests. The government should also change its messaging and “mention that it is important to continue to protect each other," she said.