On Wednesday 11th March the World Health Organisation officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, meaning that the disease has spread around the world beyond the expectations of health experts.
Across the world, like many other sectors, social service providers are taking incredible measures to effectively deal with prevention, support and containment of the COVD-19 outbreak. These measures are even more important given the nature of social service provision, which is to provide care, support and health services to people who can be far more at risk to COVID-19 than the general population, including persons with disabilities.
Via this webpage EASPD will communicate the most up-to-date and reliable information that is relevant for the sector as they work to protect staff and users while providing vital support services to persons with disabilities.
Action at a European Level
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the European Unions is coordinating a common European response to the outbreak of COVID-19. This response aims to reinforce Member State public health sectors and mitigate the socio-economic impact in the European Union.
To date, measures include:
- Ensure supply of personal protective equipment in the EU, by creating rescEU stockpile of medical equipment & regulating the ability of Member States to export such equipment outside of the EU.
- Allowing Member States to have full flexibility in Stability and Growth rules, meaning national governments do not have to limit themselves to current public debt rules to allow them to spend what they need to in order to deal with COVID-19 outbreak.
- Allow Member States to further aid the economic and social of COVID-19 outbreak, by adopting Temporary Framework on State Aid.
- Re-directing €37 billion of unspent EU Structural Funds to national, regional & local communities fighting COVID-19 through Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, including European Commission writing to each Member State to recommend targeted support to community-based social care provision (with ESF) (amongst other measures)
- Allowing EU Solidarity Fund to be used for Public Health Emergencies too; meaning more EU funds directed to deal with outbreak.
- European Commission re-directing €47.5 million to research actions on Coronavirus and more
- Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services.
EASPD recommendations to European Union
The spread of COVID-19 will create major challenges for social service provision in several ways. With this in mind EASPD and the European Aging Network (EAN) have written an open letter to European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to highlight that the provision of essential social care and support services to millions of older persons, persons with disabilities, children and other vulnerable persons in Europe is under threat following the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to this letter, EASPD has identified a number of priorities the EU should consider in response to COVID-19 regarding threat to Social Service provision.
EASPD Facebook page
To support its members at this time, EASPD has created this closed Facebook Group, in which you can:
- Raise your concerns as service providers
- Share the measures that you are implementing to ensure the safety of your staff and users while continuing to provide services to those in need of support.
- Access Easy to Read materials which can be used by you to inform you users of the basic preventative measures that they can take to protect themselves from the virus.
To join the group, click here
EASPD Help Desk
Now more than ever, European cooperation is needed to exchange with your peers, to seek new solutions, to request help and support in your lobbying activities, to raise concerns which may impact others later and to ensure that the European Union machinery is supportive of your activities. EASPD has launced a COVID-19 HELP DESK to provide additional support to our members during the pandemic. Get in touch with us at email@example.com
Each week EASPD will hold a webinar, which will bring together experts and support services providers to discuss the key issues affecting the sector during the COVID-19 outbreak
- 18th March: Health needs of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic To view the recording of this webinar click here
- 25th March: Ensuring Staff Continuity in Social Services during the COVID-19 pandemic To view the recording of this webinar click here
- 1st April: Adapting services for persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic
EASPD Press Releases
- Social services at risk of being left aside during COVID-19 spread French
- EU invisible on social emergency of COVID-19 French