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A quarter of new virus cases brought back from holiday

A quarter of new virus cases brought back from holiday

by CS 2 min. 20.08.2020 From our online archive
Only 5% of new cases tied to private parties after lawmakers tightened rules in July
Tourists at Ibiza airport on 17 August Photo: AFP
Tourists at Ibiza airport on 17 August Photo: AFP

Around one in four new coronavirus infections tracked to their source last week were diagnosed among people returning to Luxembourg from holiday trips abroad, the government said.

A quarter of the 249 new infections posted between 10 to 16 August – the biggest single identified source – were traced back to people who had travelled outside the country, the health ministry said in a weekly report published on Wednesday.

Another 21% of the virus infections detected last week occurred within families, the ministry said. Seven other groups of infections were identified to have spread within companies, flat shares, people getting together for leisure activities and in the healthcare sector, the ministry said.

The origin of about 40% of the reported infections were not identified in the ministry's report.

Only 5% of new infections linked to partying, which was identified as a major contributor when an upsurge of virus infections began picking up speed in June. In response, the government limited gatherings to ten people, tightened restrictions in restaurants and bars, and increased fines for violations. 

The average age of those diagnosed last week was 35 years old. Two patients died of Covid-19 during the same time. More than 1,800 people were quarantined or isolated because they were either awaiting a test or because of a positive result between 10 and 16 August.

The connection between returning summer travellers and coronavirus infections led officials to urge the observation of distancing and other rules even when away, and for people to get tested upon returning to Luxembourg if they are at risk of having contracted the virus.

"The health ministry reiterates its appeal to travellers to respect barrier gestures and adopt responsible behaviour during their holiday," the statement said.

Prime holiday destinations in the Mediterranean have begun clamping down on nightlife amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases. Italy and Spain this week ordered clubs to close their doors while Greece restricted opening hours for bars and restaurants.

Unlike other countries, Luxembourg has not adopted travel warnings for other EU countries, although it follows the bloc's policy on travel restrictions from countries outside the union. 

Since Monday, the government is also offering free tests for anyone returning to the country from a stay abroad. This option was previously only available to people arriving in the country via the airport in Findel.

The Grand Duchy's virus cases hit more than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants in July and led to the country's blacklisting as a virus hotspot by a number of EU countries. With active infections now below that threshold, Germany on Wednesday was one of the first countries to remove its neighbour from its quarantine list.

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