In Germany’s Coronavirus Response, the Deaf Are Left Out

In Germany’s Coronavirus Response, the Deaf Are Left Out

The country lags behind in services for the deaf.

Germany is not doing well when it comes to accessible information and medical services for the deaf, Deutsche Welle reports.

Some activists now fear this lapse could be deadly as coronavirus spreads through Europe.

Deaf people have not had sufficient access to that information and treatment so far, according to Lena Finkbeiner. This is dangerous not only for them, but also for the rest of society, since everyone needs to help prevent the spread of the virus.

​”Seriously, Germany?” the deaf activist asks in sign language in a video she produced with 11 other advocates, published on YouTube.

“Does a deaf person have to die from the coronavirus as a result of barred accessibility and a lack of information before the government acts?” deaf interpreter Corinna Brenner signs.

In Germany government websites seldom have material in sign language. If a deaf person has symptoms of the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, their only option is to call dedicated COVID-19 hotlines, which are not accessible for deaf people.

And if a deaf person eventually needs to go to a hospital with coronavirus, Brenner says it would be almost impossible to find an interpreter at short notice.

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