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The Covid-19 epidemic: lifting the lockdown for individuals with disabilities

The HCSP (Haut Conseil de la santé publique, French High Council for Public Health) issued 30 recommendations concerning procedures for lifting the lockdown for individuals with disabilities.

They were based on three general principles:

  • ordinary law shall apply by default to individuals with disabilities, i.e. the maintenance of strict lockdown rules may only be motivated by reasons associated with situations of increased risk with respect to certain situations or diseases, and not with disability;
  • the need to comply with the principle of non-discrimination must nevertheless take into account the specifics of individual circumstances;
  • individuals have the right to choose whether or not to remain in self-isolation, in accordance with their informed personal choice, after having assessed the benefits/risks with family caregivers and professionals.

The HCSP recommends, for example:

  • Applying the same rules for individuals with disabilities as have been chosen for the general population as regards the lifting of the lockdown, in particular those concerning people at risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19, in accordance with their informed personal choices;
  • Examining certain categories of disability (children, multiple disabilities and mental disabilities);
  • Returning to school or work is a priority for individuals with disabilities, requiring specific precautionary measures.

These recommendations are based on a consensus of experts, almost 60 hearings and written contributions, an analysis of the literature and of two documents submitted by the Secretary of State for the Disabled (secrétariat d’État aux Personnes handicapées) (proposals from various institutional and voluntary sector stakeholders and a list of frequently asked questions as at 23/04/2020).

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