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Centre asks states, UTs to ensure accessibility features at COVID-19 centres for PwDs

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New Delhi, Apr 29: The central government on Wednesday asked states and union territories to ensure basic physical accessibility features for persons with disabilities (PwD) at centres for COVID-19 testing, quarantine facilities and treatment at hospitals, a statement stated.

Centre asks states, UTs to ensure accessibility features at COVID-19 centres for PwDs

Shakuntala D Gamlin, Secretary of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), has written to chief secretaries of all the states and UTs on the issue.

In the letter, Gamlin said that to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, many COVID-19 centres have been identified as containment units, isolation treatment centres and testing labs for enhancing the holding capacity for medical purposes as required.

"The current crisis poses even greater threats to divyangjan not just due to their lesser/compromised immunity, ability to perceive or comprehend information but also due to non-availability of accessibility features in the physical environment and ecosystem provided at such COVID-19 related facilities," Gamlin said.

The statement stated that all operating and control mechanisms and self-operated devices (sanitiser dispensers, glove cases, soaps, wash basins) are placed within approachable reach of persons with disabilities (PwDs), especially for wheelchair users.

Graphical and simple, prominent signage as per the standard requirements of colour and contrast are put up, it stated. Audio announcements and captioned videos for public announcements of important news should be made.

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