Section Five – Conclusion
Testing is one important tool in our overall approach to managing the pandemic in Scotland and reducing as far as is possible all of the harms caused by COVID-19. Testing does not – in and of itself – reduce transmission of the virus. Testing provides information that can enable us to take action to reduce transmission of the virus. That is why it is always important to see it as one part of the picture – and to have a continual focus on the rationale for testing, the outcomes we seek from any changes to our testing, and our overall strategy.
Testing does not directly limit the opportunities for the virus to find bridges to other people in close contact; it does not reduce the risk of becoming infected by the virus by touching a contaminated surface; and it does not mitigate the risk of being infected from droplets from an infectious person. That is why face coverings; avoiding crowded places; cleaning surfaces; and physical distancing remain the absolute key to lowering opportunities of the virus to spread.
Testing is critical for direct patient care; for understanding disease progression and patterns; and for reducing transmission as part of Test and Protect. Its role in winter is likely to become even more critical. This strategy will be updated as the evidence base continually builds; as innovations provide new, better and faster possibilities; and as we continue to move through the Routemap through and out the crisis.
Testing is a vital tool in any pandemic, which, when used effectively, judiciously, in line with clear principles, advised by experts, and in full understanding and awareness of its strengths and its limitations, will help us to continue to suppress the virus in line with our overall strategy.