Optimising 'Test and Trace' Systems: Early lessons from a comparative analysis of six countries
22 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2020
Date Written: September 17, 2020
‘Test and Trace’ systems are key components of national responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Each country has its own set of measures for testing COVID-19 cases, finding contacts, and isolating and supporting those affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This article presents early results from a comparative analysis of six countries; Germany, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, and the UK. Using evidence from publicly available sources, the paper presents analyses of testing systems in the study countries, using a Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support (FTTIS) framework. The article demonstrates that no single study country has a fully optimised FTTIS system, with lessons to be learned for all from international comparisons. Findings emphasise lessons for the countries studied as well as general lessons of wider relevance on the potential scope of FTTIS systems. In particular, the need for openness and evaluation is emphasised as an integral part of the FTTIS system, to support continual assessment, learning, evolution and international sharing of good practice.
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, rt-PCR, prevention, early detection, public health
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