Experts are urging the Government to reject the formulation and implementation of policy to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic based solely on the age of the population.

The British Society of Gerontology has objected to any policy which differentiates the population by application of an arbitrary chronological age in restricting people’s rights and freedoms.

They point out that while people at all ages can be vulnerable to COVID-19, and all can spread the disease, not all people over the age of 70 are vulnerable, nor are all those under 70 resilient.

Given older adults’ multiple social roles, quarantining the more than 8.5 million people over 70 years of age will deprive society of many people who are productive and active and who can be a key part of the solution by supporting the economy, families and communities.

A stand against the ageist and stereotypical assumptions

Acknowledging the importance of measures to control and limit the spread of COVID-19, as well as the need for rapid testing for front-line workers leading the response to the pandemic, the BSG also expresses its support for testing of the wider population regardless of age.

This allows people to respond appropriately to the pandemic, ensuring that the right people isolate themselves at the right time.

“Only by bringing the generations together in this time of crisis can we prevent lasting damage being done to relationships between young and old in Britain,” said Professor Thomas Scharf of Newcastle University, the president of the society. “I am proud that BSG is taking a firm stand against the ageist and stereotypical assumptions that characterise policy measures that rely solely on the application of chronological age.”