USA :Countries erred by not investing more in testing, isolation and contact tracing

Geneva, Aug 19 . .- The World Health Organization (WHO) considered today that one of the reasons why the coronavirus pandemic could not be stopped is because countries did not invest enough in testing , in facilitating the isolation of the infected, in tracing their contacts and in quarantining them.

“We are spending billions of dollars in fiscal stimulus, putting large amounts of money to mitigate the impact of this virus, but we have not collectively invested in the process of diagnosing, tracing contacts and quarantining them,” said the director of the Department of WHO Health Emergencies, Mike Ryan.

He argued that every dollar invested in those measures would have prevented much economic damage.

“We have not invested enough in the public health architecture, in the health workforce … We have not invested what is necessary in that part of the equation,” insisted the doctor, one of the major managers in the WHO of the fight against the pandemic.

As part of that reflection, Ryan considered that testing, quarantines and contact tracing will be “an immensely important part of the next phase” of the fight against the coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world.

He recalled that the countries that focused on these measures – particularly in Asia – managed to efficiently contain the infections.

Ryan said there was also a lack of investment “in education and community engagement,” which today would make it easier for people to accept strategies such as using mobile phone applications for contact tracing.

“If people do not participate and do not want to give their contact information, it is obviously because they have some fear about how that information will be used. Then we are facing a trust problem,” said the expert.

Ryan encouraged governments to “work hard” to build the trust that is required for people to feel comfortable giving personal information to be contacted in the event that it later becomes known that they have been to a place that has been source of contamination.