COVID-19 Inquiry: disability testimony & protest

Today we went to the COVID-19 UK Inquiry to hear testimony by Disability Rights UK and disabled researchers into disability, poverty and ill-health. The hearing was under Module 2 focussing on decision-making by central government, and addressed “structural inequalities and disability”. Warning: distressing content below.

In the public gallery, we met several women from COVID-19 Bereaved Relatives for Justice, who had brought photos of their loved ones to the hearing. At lunchtime they joined our protest outside. Many of the bereaved relatives in the campaign have lost disabled family members.

Kamran Mallick from Disability Rights UK testified about the disproportionate death rate of disabled people, from 3 x higher to 30 x higher for people with Down’s.

Key evidence is a letter from Disability Rights UK to government ministers Justin Tomlinson and Helen Whateley sent in March 2020, saying that the self-isolation precautions the government had announced, were inadequate for disabled people who must have contact with care workers for daily living, and whose care workers visit various people and places. DRUK pointed out that specific measures in care homes and in our own homes (homecare visits) were needed to stop the virus spreading and needless deaths. This warning was blatantly ignored. The official reply, also shown to the Inquiry, didn’t address care homes at all, selectively answering and simply listing some temporary benefit system changes to downplay DRUK’s call for disabled claimants to have security of income during the emergency.

Video of the morning session from Monday 9 October will be on YouTube here soon.

WinVisible’s collective statement is published by the Inquiry here

Group of disabled women and men stand behind a black banner with red and white writing: 60% of people who died during the COVID pandemic were disabled. Our deaths were not inevitable.
At lunchtime we protested outside the Inquiry, chanting: “Our deaths are not inevitable — Johnson, Hancock, in the dock!”

With Rensa, Catherine and Svetlana from Inclusion London

More photos on DRUK Twitter

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5 thoughts on “COVID-19 Inquiry: disability testimony & protest”

  1. Hi,
    It was great to join you in solidarity! I’m from Bereaved Families For Justice UK – blue hair.

    I’m planning on a further 2? demos and wondered if you’d like to support/ join us ?


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