*Dasol Lyu, the lawyer of MINBYUN, is explaning about the Urgent Appeal about Shinawon to the UN Special Rapporteurs at the press conference on 4th January, 2021. ©Beminor.com
There are 117 people with developmental disabilities living at the Shina Rehabilitation Center (hereinafter "Shinawon") in Songpa-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea. As of December 29, 2020, 47 residents were confirmed with COVID-19, but only 3 were transferred to hospitals, while 44 residents with COVID-19 are still remain in Shinawon with non-confirmed residents.
The Korea Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (hereinafter “CDSCHQ”) is consistent with ‘cohort isolation (collective isolation)’ as a countermeasure against COVID-19 infections in residential institutions such as Shinawon and nursing homes. The ‘cohort isolation’ measure is seriously concerning as it not only poses a possibility for further mass-cluster infection inside the institution but also lack of medical treatment for the residents with disabilities with COVID-19. In particular, when implemented in the absence of medical professionals, the cohort isolation measure is not in compliance with the government guidelines on COVID-19 while only adding the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients. Though some of the confirmed patients are transferred to hospital, all residents of the institution are in urgent need of moving out of Shinawon immediately where they could isolate themselves individually to prevent further infections, as they have lived in the institution with the confirmed residents.
This was a foreseen tragedy. The government previously claimed that it successfully controlled the spread of the novel virus in institutions by implementing the "preventive cohort isolation" measures. The Shinawon case, however, clearly proves that the mass infection is inevitable in institutions with such countermeasures; both ‘institution’ and ‘cohort isolation’ are the core factors of mass cluster infection.
Hence, KDF and MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society have submitted urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health, and Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.
The appeal consists of three main concerns; (1) Mass cluster infection due to ‘cohort isolation’(2) Isolation from the outside (3) Closure of information.
'Cohort isolation' measure cannot be the right response to protect the lives of the persons in institutions. Korean Government should stop taking 'cohort isolation' measure and introduce 'evacuation and emergecny deinstitutionalisation' principle immediately.
If you want to know more, please find the attached file; some parts of the document are omitted to protect the sources.