The country-wide lockdown in India to restrict the spread of the coronavirus has it’s advantageous; however, things have become harder for those using wheelchairs.
Samuel Mani owns a shop in New Delhi. 42-year-old Mani has cerebral palsy, which limits his movement and restricts his coordination. Despite these challenges, Mani managed to live an independent life with his wife Meenu, who also has cerebral palsy.
Mani sells computers and other electronic devices at his shop in Safdarjung, but things have dramatically changed for him since the Indian government implemented a 21-day national lockdown in a bid to control the coronavirus pandemic. Mani is left with no choice but to rely on his 72-year-old father for helping him with daily chores, he told VICE.
Mani’s father lives just a floor below his apartment. He comes in the morning to help his son take a bath and then dresses him up. This helplessness has caused Mani a feeling of guilt and worries since his father has to come each day to help him when the government has warned people (especially over 60-years-old) to practice social distancing.
“It puts all three of us in danger. That bothers me but I have no other option,” Mani explains. To make things worse for the couple, the shopkeeper who delivered essential goods to their home isn’t willing to home deliver those items. Left with no option, they turned to disability rights activists to get the essentials.
Social distancing is without an iota of doubt one of the most effective ways to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic, which justifies lockdown enforcing it; however, the lockdown completely ignored differently-abled people for whom this is not feasible.
People living chronic health conditions and limited mobility are highly vulnerable to contracting coronavirus; however, enforcing social distancing measures on these segments of the population would also restrict the support they receive from their caregivers on a daily basis.