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Mum Of Disabled Boy Says He Was Refused Entry To A Covid-19 Testing Site For Not Wearing A Mask

November 4, 2020

A mum said she was fuming after her disabled son was turned away from a coronavirus testing centre for not wearing a mask.

The 38-year-old said her son is exempt from wearing a face covering as he is autistic and has special educational needs.

She booked in a test at the Belle Vue walk-in site on Saturday, October 24.

Her son, who she asked to remain anonymous, had a temperature – one of the symptoms of Covid-19.

He visited the site with her husband, but when they arrived, she claims the pair were turned away as her son wasn’t wearing a face covering.

“(My husband) said ‘he is autistic, he has special needs, he is exempt from wearing one'”, she said.

“(The member of staff) said ‘it is a testing centre, no one comes in without a mask'”, she added.

“My husband was frustrated. My son started running round the car park grunting. He is verbal but with autism and additional needs he is nervous about tests, he doesn’t like things in his face. He was really worried that if he was positive he would be off school.

“He had been off school before. He was frustrated that he couldn’t go in,” she explained.

The Gorton mum said she was ‘really angry’ when her husband phoned her about the incident.

“In the small print it says children over three should wear a mask. But I saw that and thought ‘that’s fine, he is exempt'”, she said.

“I didn’t think (him not wearing a mask) was going to be an issue.

“I was fuming, he is only 10-years-old. It’s a shame he was treated like that. It’s upsetting enough for him”.

She told her husband to go back to the testing site and show evidence of a disability living allowance award.

“(Staff at the testing centre) said he is not coming in, it doesn’t apply”, she said.

The family were told to book another test at a drive through centre, which they were able to book at the Etihad.

“What if, like many Gorton residents – and other families with disabled children – we didn’t have a car?”, she said.

“Thankfully his test returned negative, but what kind of government can justify turning a disabled child away from a Covid test centre?”

The experience has left the mum feeling angry, she said the guidance is not clear that children exempt from wearing masks cannot be tested at walk-in sites.

“It’s just not clear guidance. It seems a shame that disabled children can’t use a walk-in site. He was OK (after the incident), but I did explain as best as I could that what happened to him wasn’t OK.

“I don’t want him to grow up thinking he is less than anyone else, his rights should be the same as everyone else’s.

“I felt like he had been discriminated against”, she said.

“I was so upset initially. I took a bit of time to calm down so I didn’t do anything I would regret,” she said.

The mum contacted her local MP Afzal Khan about the incident.

In a statement to the Manchester Evening News , the Gorton MP said he found it ‘unbelievable’ that a child with symptoms could be refused a test.

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