What works, and how can we make it fairer? Developing new guidance for contact tracing

Source: LSE
Authors: Dian Faradiba, Hwee-Lin Wee, Joseph Babigumira, Miqdad Asaria, Saudamini Dabak
Victor del Rio Vilas, Yi Wang, Yu Ting Chen
Date: 23 July 2021

The researchers from Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (SSHSPH NUS), the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP) Thailand, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the World Health Organization Southeast Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO) survey the opinion of contact tracers, policymakers and practitioners about contact tracing to understand the appropriate measure between equity and efficiency. Even though vaccination could be the way to contain the COVID-19 spreading, the limited supply of vaccines and the new variant may trigger the pandemic control. Therefore, contact tracing will be the vital way to contain spreading of the virus. Referred to the early findings in Thailand, there are some challenges such as accurate information from person infected with COVID-19, inadequate staff, prioritising contacts to trace based on rural and urban separation or socio-economic class, language barriers among migrant communities and resources for testing. The costs of testing and the loss of income during the self-isolation period can be a particularly acute pain point for low-income groups, a cost which may need to be defrayed by governments. These types of issues need to be weighed against others when designing a successful contact tracing policy that breaks the chain of transmission.

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