Bettel to address media as new Covid law looms
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert will address the media on Friday amid speculation they will give an update on new Covid rules as the country struggles to boost its vaccination rates.
Various media reports suggested on Thursday that the country's CovidCheck system, which currently grants access to restaurants, bars and other venues to those who are vaccinated, tested negative or have recovered from Covid-19, will be extended to also cover smaller parties and other venues such as museums and gyms. Self antigen tests will no longer be accepted, reports said.
The Prime Minister's spokesperson Liz Thielen could not confirm the reports in a phone call with the Luxembourg Times on Thursday. A similar requirement that took effect in France in July led to a dramatic increase in unvaccinated people seeking their first jab.
Luxembourg remains one of the laggards in Western Europe, having fully vaccinated just 63% of its entire population, behind France's 66%, Belgium's 73% and Portugal's 86%, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data.
The current Covid law is due to expire on 18 October. When Bettel and Lenert have held a press conference following a government meeting within just two weeks of a new law in the past, they have announced revised rules.
Currently, the CovidCheck system applies to gatherings of four people indoors and 10 people in outside areas. People staying at a hotel or going to a restaurant or café can do a rapid self test if they are neither vaccinated, nor tested or have not recovered from the disease.
Bettel first suggested that the CovidCheck may be broadened out and that self tests may be scrapped in September when he announced the current Covid law.
François Koepp, the head of the Horesca group which represents restaurant, café and hotel operators, said on Thursday in an interview with Luxemburger Wort that the government will stop allowing rapid tests at the entrance to hospitality businesses.
The new law - pending a vote in parliament - will come into effect on 19 October and will set out the new pandemic rules.