Testing strategies should remain flexible and able to adapt rapidly to change depending on the local epidemiological situation, transmission rates, population dynamics and available resources.
Ideally, all people with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested as soon as possible AFTER symptom onset. Test result turnaround time should be minimised, people testing positive should be isolated and timely contact tracing and testing of all close contacts, irrespective of symptoms, should be carried out.
During the influenza season, all patients with acute respiratory symptoms in hospitals and within other heathcare settings, and all specimens from sentinel primary care surveillance, should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal influenza in paral- lel, to monitor incidence and trends over time. Healthcare and social care settings require periodic and comprehensive testing of all staff and residents/patients. All patients/ residents should also be tested at or just prior to admission during community transmission.
Testing policies and systems should be in place for rapid detection and control of clusters or outbreaks in certain settings in order to protect the populations present there, and to protect the community from amplified transmission.
Countries experiencing high SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a local arear in the community could consider testing the whole population of the affected area to identify cases, to isolate them and interrupt the chains of transmission.
Countries or subnational areas that achieved sustained control of the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 should, in addition to qua- rantine, consider targeted testing and follow up of individuals coming from other areas or countries that have not yet achieved sustained virus elimination status. Member States should adapt these recommendations based on the national/local epidemiological situation and their resour- ces, ensuring that testing also covers surveillance needs.