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WHO policy brief: COVID-19 testing, 14 September 2022

Key points 

  • It remains critical for national programmes to continue to offer testing for COVID-19 in line with three main objectives: reduce morbidity and mortality through linkage to prompt care and treatment, reduce onward transmission and track the evolution of the epidemic and the virus itself.
  • Testing of suspected cases early in the disease course – especially among people at increased risk for hospitalization or severe COVID-19 – enables access to supportive care and COVID-19 therapeutics.
  • Confirming COVID-19 through testing for SARS-CoV-2 followed by isolation (and follow up of relevant contacts) can reduce transmission. At the population level, fluctuations in testing data can contribute to decisions on intensifying or relaxing public health and social measures.
  • WHO continues to recommend maintaining and strengthening COVID-19 surveillance, including use of sequencing, to monitor changes in epidemiological patterns, trends in morbidity and mortality, the burden of disease on health care capacity (health and care workers, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions) and the evolution and circulation of variants.

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