Bettel, Lenert address comes as Covid cases and deaths jump
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert scheduled a press conference on Friday as new data show Covid-19 deaths and new infections in Luxembourg jumped to levels last seen in March and April, when parts of the economy were still locked down.
As elsewhere in Europe, Luxembourg is undergoing an increase in new infections, hospitalisations, life-threatening cases and deaths all up in the week that ended on Sunday, data released by the Health Ministry on Thursday show.
New infections during the week between 8 and 14 November were up by 20% compared to the previous week, the ministry said. Eight people, whose average age was 79, died from the disease in that period, the health ministry said. A majority of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, including those requiring intensive care, were not vaccinated, officials said.
The incidence rate of new infections amongst the unvaccinated remains twice as high as for those who have received all shots required for full protection, the health ministry said to prove that the vaccinated are less likely to catch the disease that has killed over 850 people in Luxembourg alone.
Bettel and Lenert, who have led Luxembourg's public health response to the pandemic, will address the nation on Friday. Calls increased this week for widespread booster shots for the population, with a motion passing in parliament on Tuesday that urges the government to offer a booster shot to lower age groups.
Only healthcare workers, those over the age of 65 and people who received the one-shot treatment produced by Johnson & Johnson are eligible currently for an additional jab.
Health Minister Paulette Lenert told deputies before their vote on boosters that the government was waiting to hear the advice of the country's infectious diseases advisory council.
“I cannot make a firm commitment. We will have to find a balance between the increasing societal pressure (against vaccine rules) and the health contribution of a third dose for all. It is not like handing out candy,” Lenert said.
More than three out of four people over the age of 12 - the age at which vaccine use is approved - are fully vaccinated, the health ministry said. That still leaves Luxembourg behind most countries in Western Europe.