Like the rest of the population of the whole world, the visually impaired population has been affected by the pandemic; new challenges have been added to the challenges they already face every day.
As reported by (The World Health Organization), the risk which visually impaired people could face during the pandemic is not related to their disability; however, it is related to the possibility of their exposition to higher risk due to their life requirements which may be hard to be fulfilled during Coronavirus.
The additional challenges could include taking care of the hygiene measures, they may find difficulty in locating sanitizers for examples in public stores, also they almost always need to stay closer to someone to guide them in places they are not familiar with, this could make it hard for them to keep the social distancing.
Blind people always rely on their sense of touch to identify things around them, and this what makes their everyday lives easier; however today and with the novelties imposed by the virus, people try to avoid touching surfaces as it increases the risk of the infection, so this could shape another challenge for blind individuals.
According to an article published by The BBC in January the first about visually impaired people who talked about the difficulties they face during Covid-19, Graham Routledge, the 67-year old man who lives in Essex has said that he finds the new rules difficult for him to adapt with and this made him avoid going out, people in stores always ask him to follow the signs and floor stickers and he can’t, so he is asking for a change in the system to introduce a voice in public stores to guide visually impaired persons.
Samantha Fox, who also expressed her worries about the new Corona rules said that because of social distancing, she could not find people near her for help in the supermarket, she also said that she can’t follow social distancing; as she doesn’t know where other persons are and added that her dog doesn’t understand social distancing too.
Pamela Little has also expressed her anger from people who become so rude when she could not follow the rules of social distancing. She also had other worries about using the technology which most people relied on during the pandemic, such as Zoom.
Another concern could be about the emotional/ psychological health of visually impaired/blind persons; the limited gatherings and meetings with friends and family could have left them more isolated and lonelier.
On the other side, World Services for the Blind has outlined some safe ways for visually impaired/blind people to reduce the risk of getting infected:
– Wash or sanitize your cane or your guiding dog leash.
– Stay home and rely on delivery services.
– Try to limit riding public transportation.
– Follow the general guidelines such as: wash your hands, wear your face mask, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands are unwashed, and practice social distancing.
Sandy is a senior student in the Faculty of Mass Communication, she has known since day one that she wants to study media. Fashion is her passion; she finds herself in reading and she likes cooking for those who she loves. Nothing can stop her from smiling, and when she has to do something; it will be very well done.