Denmark and Austria set to reopen their economy albeit incrementally.
I can’t speak on the testing regimes of other countries, and I can’t really speak on the testing in Ireland. However, It is important to note that only as recent as Friday did it become clear that there were more cases of coronavirus in Ireland then was being reported.
The eligibility criteria for a test has changed repeatedly. Firstly, tests were only to be given to people displaying both a fever and one symptom of respiratory illness. That subsequently changed so that only those with underlying health conditions were to be deemed eligible for testing.
Tests are important for contact tracing
First what are the guidelines for contact tracing:
Contact needs to have occurred during the infectious period. For the purposes of this guidance, given the current knowledge about COVID-19 transmission, the infectious period for contact tracing purposes is defined as from 48 hours before symptom onset in the case, until the case is classified as no longer infectious by the treating team (usually 5 days fever free AND 14 days from symptom onset but may be longer in severely ill cases who are hospitalisedNational Interim Guidelines for Public Health management of contacts of cases of COVID-19
Contact tracing is to take place immediately after a confirmed case of Covid-19 or a highly likely suspected case is identified; something which is difficult to do when there is a backlog of tests.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said he hoped the backlog in testing would be cleared by the end of next week.
He said between 25,000 and 30,000 tests had been sent to Germany, with more than half of the tests returned and the remainder due back this week.
In an article by RTE on reopening economies the Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Martin McKee said:
“You need clear data of the highest quality,”
“We have to know how many people are dying and how many people are infected.”RTE
This highlights a glaring problem for Ireland, before considering lifting lockdown restrictions it has to be sure that it has accurate information about how quickly the disease is spreading.
Without this information it is impossible to know whether the lifting of restrictions is causing the virus to be transmitted more rapidly