Covid isolation could be slashed despite infection jump
People who test positive for Covid-19 could be required to self-isolate for just four days, down from seven days currently, the government said on Wednesday, despite infections almost doubling over the past week.
The contact tracing system, designed to inform people of potential contact with an infected person, could be scrapped under the proposed changes to the Covid rules, which will need to be approved by parliament before it becomes law.
Under the proposal, people who test positive would be obliged to isolate for four days but could end their isolation early if they have two negative tests within 24 hours of each other. Anyone who is showing symptoms after the fourth day and needs a sick note for work can request it from their doctor.
There were more than 2,300 new infections in the week beginning 26 September, according to the latest figures released by the Health Ministry on Thursday, in addition to 876 re-infections. This is almost twice as many as the 1,300 new infections the previous week.
Despite the increase in infections, and a warning from a virologist at Luxembourg’s Health Ministry that cases are likely to shoot up in the coming weeks due to more indoor gatherings in autumn and winter months, the government put forward the new proposals on Wednesday.
The new draft law "aims to maintain minimum measures in force until the end of March 2023 while retaining the option of revising the law quickly" in the event of a new variant, the government said in a press release on Wednesday.
Ministers also backed a recommendation by the Superior Council for Infectious Diseases for people to receive a second booster shot, in particular those aged over 60 or considered at risk.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday encouraged older residents to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, with a reminder that people can get both it and the Covid booster at the same appointment.
“This winter, this disease can have even more serious consequences, because fewer people will have acquired natural immunity against the flu during the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore more people are likely to contract it,” the ministry said.
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday largely praised Luxembourg's handling of the pandemic, saying the country had activated its crisis management system "quicker than its neighbours".
However, the OECD identified shortcomings in several areas, including an over reliance on cross-border healthcare staff, the lack of financial support available to self-employed workers and insufficient consultation with citizens as legislation was rushed through.