Today, a group of seven organisations of persons with disabilities and other organisations advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities sent an urgent appeal to ensure equal access to COVID-19 medical treatment for residents of Sasca Mică Centre and other institutions for persons with disabilities and older persons in Romania.
On 21 April 2020, Romania reported a major COVID-19 outbreak at a large residential facility for people with disabilities in the village of Sasca Mică in the northeast of the country. It was communicated that 242 of the 369 residents and 59 of the 86 members of staff at the Neuropsychiatric Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre tested positive. While those residents that tested positive for COVID-19 were quarantined in a separate building within the Sasca Mică complex, the staff were admitted to nearby hospitals. No explanation has been offered for this difference in treatment, which also departed from existing rules and practices in Romania that require the hospitalisation of all symptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus.
On 24 April, the authorities informed the public about the first fatality – an 80-year-old resident – who was exposed at the origin of the outbreak.
The urgent appeal was sent by to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, signed by: European Network on Independent Living, European Disability Forum, Romanian National Disability Council, Validity Foundation, Disability Rights International, International Disability Alliance, International Disability and Development Consortium and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.
Image: A satellite view of the Sasca Mica village, where the psychiatric institution is situated, with its borders marked in red.