Daily Covid infections in Luxembourg hit record high
Luxembourg recorded its highest ever number of daily Covid-19 infections on Thursday, with more than 2,300 new cases, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.
It surpassed the previous record set last Wednesday, when more than 2,100 infections were registered, part of a trend of sky high case numbers linked to the Omicron variant.
Daily infection numbers – which were in the mid to low hundreds in December - have remained in and around 2,000 every day for most of this week, with roughly one in three tests returning a positive result.
Despite the number of cases skyrocketing, hospitalisations remain stable and below levels seen last month. There are 69 patients currently being treated for Covid-19 in hospital in Luxembourg, 20 of whom are in intensive care.
The latest record in daily cases comes just a day after the weekly figures also hit the highest levels seen since the pandemic began almost two years ago.
The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Luxembourg has almost doubled for the second consecutive week, according to weekly data released by the Health Ministry on Wednesday.
Record high numbers
Although the number of PCR tests carried out in the week from January 3 to January 9 increased by a third, the number of infections rose by 89%, with 10,680 cases in the first week of the new year.
The previous week's figures, covering December 27 to January 2, showed that more than 5,600 people had tested positive for the virus, which was the highest number of cases recorded in the country during a single week since the pandemic began and twice as many as the week before, when 2,600 tested positive.
Vaccinations are continuing to pick up pace, the data shows, with more than 42,000 doses administered last week - the highest weekly amount for nearly six months - and almost 10,000 doses alone on Wednesday and Thursday. 81% of all those aged 12 and over are now vaccinated, the ministry said.
Despite evidence of the spike in cases, parliament on Tuesday moved to relax some Covid rules, at the same time that the government is also considering whether to impose mandatory vaccinations.
The State Council, an advisory body to government and parliament, on Monday slammed the new Covid law for softening measures in light of the recent surge in infections.
Debate on mandatory vaccinations
A parliamentary debate on mandatory vaccinations could take place next week, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel told deputies on Tuesday.
The government hopes to receive an opinion from a group of independent experts looking at the subject this week, Bettel said, paving the way for a debate on the issue in parliament next week.
“We want to have this debate here, next week,” he said, adding that it should take place “next Wednesday or Thursday”, without specifying a date. Referring to Tuesday’s parliamentary vote which saw a relaxation in Covid-19 rules approved by a wafer thin majority of 31 to 29 votes, the prime minister indicated that he did not want to see such a close vote repeated when it came to compulsory jabs.
“If we put in place obligatory vaccinations, I would like to have a clear consensus in parliament. 31-29 would be a shame," Bettel said, adding that the issue is “one of the most difficult decisions” he has faced in his eight years in charge.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told The Luxembourg Times on Thursday that “we are cautiously optimistic that the report (by the independent experts) will be finalised by the end of this week or the beginning of next.”
Austria became the first country in the EU to approve a general mandate for vaccination, which will take effect next month.