COVID-19 Testing Trends – Globally & Regionally
(HPW/Svet Lustig): How countries rank in COVID-19 tests/per million population. Based on national test data collected by FIND (finddx.org), 28 March, 2020.

Testing: the crux of effective outbreak responses

Testing is an essential component of effective outbreak responses. Without widespread testing, we cannot know whether a disease is spreading nor take measures to appropriately respond to it. All countries should be able to test all suspected cases, they cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded, they should know where the cases are, and that is how they can take decisions,” said Dr Tedros, WHO Director General. Health Policy Watch is tracking testing trends in countries around the world, based on data from FIND’s COVID-19 tracker.

We display diagnostic capacity using two measures – cumulative testing by countries and trends showing change  

We have displayed the data using two measures: cumulative number of tests per million population, for all countries administering tests as of 28 March, and trends in selected countries over the past week.

From the cumulative data, we can see how some countries, including Iceland, Bahrain, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland, far outpace other nations in terms of their rate of testing, per million people. We also see how many low and middle income countries across Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia still lack any significant test capacity, even while cases are rising.  Importantly, we present testing data per million people to account for large population differences between countries.

From the trends data, we can also see how countries such as Australia, Switzerland and the United States, have very rapidly ramped up testing over just the past week, while others, such as France and Great Britain, lag further behind.

Testing Trends In Europe
Within the past week, European countries such as Switzerland and the Czech Republic have doubled and tripled their testing capacity, respectively. Switzerland, which has one of the highest per-capita rates of infection in the world, has now administered 12,639 tests per million people. Countries like France and the UK, however, have not reported any changes in testing over the past week, with only 1,548 and 1,779 tests per million , respectively, despite increasingly high infection rates.
(HPW/Svet Lustig): Trends in selected countries of WHO’s European Region. Based on national test data collected by FIND (finddx.org), 28 March, 2020.

Western Pacific, Eastern Mediterranean and Americas Regions – High Income

Australia has sharply increased its testing, with 8,134 tests per million on 28 March, double that of a week ago. While the USA has almost quadrupled its testing capacity in one week, it still has only administered a total of 2,032 tests per million, lagging behind many high-income regions.  Trends covered are in selected high income countries of the region.

(HPW/Svet Lustig): Trends in selected low- and middle-income countries of WHO’s Western Pacific (WPRO), Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) and Americas (AMRO) regions. Based on national test data collected by FIND (finddx.org), 28 March, 2020.

African, South-East Asian and Americas Regions – Low & Middle Income  

Trends here are for selected low- and middle-income coutnries that are testing significantly. In the African continent, South Africa leads with 539 tests per million. While South Africa’s testing capacity is still low in comparison to the rest of the world, this is still approximately double compared to last week.
In Latin America, Chile has increased its testing five-fold for a cumulative total of 1209 tests per million; followed by Costa Rica, which has doubled its testing capacity to 600 tests per million. While testing capacity has almost doubled in India, as well, the country so far carried out only 20 tests per million people.
(HPW/Svet Lustig): Trends in selected low- and middle-income countries of WHO’s Americas (AMRO), African AMRO) and South East Asia (SEARO) regions. Based on national test data collected by FIND (finddx.org), 28 March, 2020.