Proper testing - but how?

Skyrocketing infection figures and the simultaneously increasing availability of various types of coronavirus tests are fuelling the discussion about the role of the proper testing strategy in the struggle against the pandemic. Slovakia's plans have attracted attention in this regard. But the commentators are already at odds over the wisest approach to testing.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

More freedoms, less damage

Regular testing should enable us to live with fewer restrictions, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung demands:

“Even the simplest economic calculations show that far more testing would be economically worthwhile, because it would help to curb the pandemic and reduce the damage. ... Those who regularly undergo rapid tests to certify that they are not contagious should be allowed to visit their relatives in nursing homes or care for the elderly, attend in-person classes at university and even fly. ... Now that the second wave is scaring the population it's high time for a new, considerably more offensive test strategy.”

Dnevnik (BG) /

A head start thanks to rapid tests

Dnevnik pins its hopes on rapid tests that give quick results and are freely available:

“If the new tests were to be launched soon, they would be much cheaper and faster than PCR tests. Not only would they make travelling from one country to another easier, they would also enable the earlier detection of infection and treatment before complications arise. In addition, they would make it possible to avoid large-scale lockdowns because mass testing and contact tracing could then help to neutralise outbreaks more quickly.”

Diena (LV) /

Targeted tests or not enough tests?

Latvian Minister of Health Ilze Vinkele has announced that in future Covid testing will only be possible on doctors' orders. Diena finds this completely incomprehensible:

“The WHO and other recognised institutions clearly state that the virus spreads 'quietly', that an infected person can infect others before they themselves have symptoms, that they may even remain symptom-free. The minister talks about 'targeted testing' and her ministry claims that the goal of this change of strategy is not to reduce the number of tests, but to shorten the queues for those who need to be tested as quickly as possible. If the state lacks the resources, it should say so. The fear of political failure and accusations that we were not prepared for the second wave of Covid is understandable. But political risks are not the main concern right now.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

No strategy makes sense without solidarity

Krytyka Polityczna fears that a good testing strategy won't be enough:

“Employers' pressure on employees not to be tested, not to inform the authorities about contacts with infected persons and not to quarantine is present in many sectors. ... Regardless of whether the testing system can be made more efficient, we will not be able to overcome the pandemic in the absence of absolute solidarity on the part of employers. Unfortunately, the government isn't making things easier and is offering only certain sectors support. It is also doing nothing against the ills that have plagued Poland's system for years - like the many precarious employment contracts or the inefficiency of the healthcare system. This is now having a fatal impact.”