Lessons from countries implementing find, test, trace, isolation and support policies in the rapid response of the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review

April 21, 2021

Sheng- Chia Chung, Sushila Marlow, Nicholas Tobias, Alessio Alogna, Ivano Alogna, San-Lin You, Kamlesh Khunti, Martin McKee, Susan Michie, Deenan Pillay.

BMJ Open

Chung et al conducted a systematic review of studies from May 2019 to January 2021 which analysed strategies using by different countries to establish an effective find, test, trace, isolate, and support system (FTTIS) for COVID-19. Various strategies, including instituting drive-through testing, pooled testing approaches, and targeting testing, were found to be effective in increasing sampling capacity and/or scaling up laboratory capacity. Digital tools have been applied in different contexts to monitor individuals’ location and facilitate contact tracing. The precision of location tracking and the use of such tools has been controversial, but they have been advantageous compared to manual contact tracing methods. Logistical challenges to transferring data, accessibility of testing, public awareness, legal challenges, and economic issues for impacted individuals are all factors that modulate FTTIS efforts. Overall, effective strategies for FTTIS included: controlling travel into country, targeting testing of high-risk groups, expanding testing capacity, using digital tools for contact tracing and compliance monitoring, providing support measures, integration of efforts and data systems, and public cooperation. These results can inform national efforts in future pandemics.

Chung S-C, Marlow S, Tobias N, et al. Lessons from countries implementing find, test, trace, isolation and support policies in the rapid response of the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review. BMJ Open 2021; 11: e047832.

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