Coronavirus: For Persons with Disabilities, avoiding Covid-19 poses special challenges


Coronavirus: For Persons with Disabilities, avoiding Covid-19 poses special challenges, March 2020-Nipun Malhotra

For a person like me, social distancing is impossible due to the dependence on others to fulfill physiological requirements.


Sixteen-year-old Yan Cheng was a resident of Hubei in China. Living with an extreme form of cerebral palsy, Yan Cheng could not move his body, speak or look after himself. His father was his sole carer. In mid-January, he was left stranded at his home as his father showed symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus and was put in a quarantine facility. Over the next week, he was fed only two meals despite an appeal by his father on the local social media platform Weibo. He died, home alone.

Coronavirus has resulted in thousands of casualties over the last three months. However, if there is one case that has given me angst and sleepless nights, it is of Yan Cheng, a boy who died due to coronavirus without ever being struck by it.

Newspapers, news websites, TV channels and social media have been filled with nothing much except for coronavirus over the last few weeks as it has tragically gone global. However, not much has been spoken about its impact on Persons with Disabilities and the fears they face post the onslaught of the virus. In fact, the only mention of disability are the sly social media tweets about how the disabled were always right in propagating “work from home” once new age companies that had the luxury to offer it announced it.


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Written by Raegan Bartlo