Population-wide testing of SARS-CoV-2: country experiences and potential approaches in the EU/EEA and the United Kingdom

Technical report
Cite:

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Population-wide testing of SARS-CoV-2: country experiences and potential approaches in the EU/EEA and the UK Stockholm: ECDC; 2020

This document summarises country experiences and perspectives relating to the objective and application of different population-wide testing approaches and discusses the options in the context of the EU/EEA and the UK. The testing of all individuals in a specific setting as part of an outbreak investigation (e.g. related to an occupational setting) or a research study are not considered to be population-wide testing in the context of this document. Details on the screening of particular targeted populations (e.g. testing of pregnant women on labour and delivery wards, testing of residents and staff in long-term care facilities, testing of all patients prior to surgery, etc.) are also not included in this document.

Executive summary

  • Different population-wide testing approaches have already been used in various countries, including household testing, individual testing and the testing of incoming travellers, irrespective of whether ornot they are displaying symptoms.
  • Factors that need to be considered prior to implementation of any population-wide testing strategy which is to include all individuals are the epidemiological situation, costs, logistics, technical feasibility,resource availability, contract tracing capabilities, barriers to testing, potential false positivity and timely notification.
  • Population-wide testing strategies can complement other public health measures and are more effective when paired with case isolation and contact tracing.