Aussie reopening plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions could pose risk for people with disabilities: inquiry

The Australian government has been warned against easing coronavirus restrictions before all people with disabilities are fully vaccinated as the country continues to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.

In a draft report published on Monday, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability expressed concerns about state governments’ reopening plans.

Some state governments have revealed plans to ease strict lockdowns when 70 percent of over-16s are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

However, the royal commissioners said no government should lift restrictions until 100 percent of people with disabilities and disability support workers are inoculated.

“Without that opportunity, they face significant risks to their health if they contract COVID-19,” the report said.

It found that the federal government failed to provide clear information about the vaccine rollout to people with disabilities, damaging the “credibility and perceived trustworthiness” of the government.

The report was released as Australia reported 1,511 new locally-acquired coronavirus cases on Monday morning.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 787 new cases and 12 deaths.

There have been 309 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since June 16, 2021, said the statement from NSW Health.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 705 new local cases and one death.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 19 new cases, taking the number of active cases in the nation’s capital to 255.

A man in his 90s at an aged care facility in Canberra died of COVID-19, marking the ACT’s first coronavirus death in the current outbreak.

According to the latest data released by the Department of Health, 75.8 percent of Australians aged 16 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 51.5 percent are fully vaccinated.