March 18, 2021 – 08:06
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated age-based discrimination – a problem already widespread around the world, the United Nations said.
In a joint report, four UN agencies said age-related discrimination is prevalent across society and that the problem does not only affect older people.
“Age discrimination is widespread in institutions, laws and policies around the world. “It harms individual health and dignity, as well as large economies and societies,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Categorization, prejudice and age-based discrimination have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has done devastating damage to older people, Guterres said.
“This denies people the rights and abilities to reach their full potential,” he added.
The report points out that in the workplace, especially, young people and the elderly may face disadvantages, due to their age. The same problem arises in health and social care, in the media and in legal systems.
The report was drafted by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office of Human Rights, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the United Nations Population Fund.
Leaders of these agencies said age discrimination has increased by the pandemic.
“Older people are often seen as weak and vulnerable, while young people are portrayed as invincible.”
“We will have to address the issue during and after this crisis if we are to ensure the health, well-being and dignity of people wherever they are,” the UN chief said.
The report states that the problem can be addressed by building “a movement to change the story about age and aging”.
Elsewhere in the world, data on the coronavirus show that it continues to spread.
India reported 35,871 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the highest figure in more than three months. The most affected state of Maharashtra accounts for 65 per cent of new cases.
The total number of infected in India has now risen to 11.47 million, which is the highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.
The US leads the world with over 29.6 million cases of infection and over 538,000 victims. But in recent weeks, the number of new cases and hospitalizations there has been declining, in part due to the intensified vaccination campaign.
Of the European Union countries, France has the highest number of infected, while Italy has the highest number of victims.
The EU has been criticized for slow vaccination campaigns, but European officials have blamed supply chain problems.
Of the three vaccines approved in the EU, only two are used in most countries.
AstraZeneca has been suspended in many states, following reports that some individuals vaccinated with it have suffered blood clots.
However, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have said there is no evidence linking the vaccine to blood clots and have suggested that it be continued.