Random samples will no longer be collected from the elderly, announces NEOC

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Monday said the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has stopped collecting random samples from the elderly for COVID-19 testing.

Doctors have previously voiced concern over families of elderly people refusing to cooperate in providing samples for random testing, despite people over 60 years being an especially vulnerable high risk group. The families believe it is impossible for their older family members to have been infected with the virus as they do not leave their homes, said NEOC.

Speaking at NEOC's daily press conference on Monday, the centre's spokesperson Mohamed Mabrook Azeez announced the centre's decision not to collect further samples from the elderly due to the public's refusal to cooperate with authorities.

Mabrook said the COVID-19 technical advisory team first recommended testing 10 percent of the elderly population, which adds up to approximately 350 individuals. However, a large number of the target group refused to provide samples, after which the percentage was then revised to 5 percent. Five percent adds up to approximately 170 individuals. Out of these, 105 samples were taken and the person had tested positive.