Routine testing patients for COVID-19 before major surgery could reduce the risk of respiratory complications and save lives, a new study revealed. Researchers working together around the world found that using a nasal swab test to confirm that asymptomatic patient was not infected with SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a lower rate of postoperative complications. The main benefit was seen before major surgery and areas with a higher rate of COVID-19. Swab testing gave an opportunity for surgeons to identify asymptomatic infected patients and postpone their operation, avoiding the severe risk of COVID-19 complications after surgery. Routine testing also helped to prevent cross-infection from patients with no symptoms to other elective surgical patients upon admission to hospital. The COVIDSurg toolkit will support individual hospitals, regions, and countries during a major global reorganisation of surgical services during the pandemic and beyond.