Luxembourg records highest daily Covid infections this year
Luxembourg recorded an unwelcome milestone on Wednesday with 585 new Covid-19 infections, the highest daily total this year, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.
The number of cases surpasses the 556 positive tests registered on 23 November, and is a figure not seen since 595 infections were recorded in a single day on 15 December last year.
Weekly figures, also released on Wednesday by the Health Ministry, showed a 25% jump in infections in the last week of November, with almost 2,400 positive tests between 22 and 28 November. The figures showed that the unvaccinated are more than twice as likely to be infected than those who are fully vaccinated, according to the ministry.
One person died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of victims in Luxembourg as a result of the virus to 876 since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.
There are 64 patients being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals in the Grand Duchy, with 13 of those in intensive care. The record number of daily infections for 2021 comes as concern grows over the spread of the Omicron variant across several countries in Europe. Luxembourg has not yet reported any cases linked to the new variant.
On Monday, the government announced an extension of the CovidCheck scheme across workplaces and leisure venues, aimed at increasing the vaccination rate, but ruled out further restrictions or lockdowns for the time being.
If Luxembourg's parliament adopts the proposals next week, workers will have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test to enter offices. The rule is scheduled to come into force by the middle or end of January.
Visitors to restaurants, bars and Christmas markets will now have to provide evidence they have been vaccinated or recovered from the virus, with testing no longer accepted.
Businesses will also be given powers to carry out identity checks to verify the details on a Covid certificate, and refuse entry to those who do not comply.
A handful of demonstrators opposed to the government’s vaccination scheme and CovidCheck plans staged a protest at the homes of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Family Affairs Minister Corinne Cahen on Tuesday, the Luxemburger Wort reported.
In October, Bettel, who was hospitalised with the virus in the summer, told parliament that he has had to step up his personal security arrangements after receiving death threats linked to his Covid-19 policies.
Testing of pupils in schools is also being stepped up after a wave of new infections since students returned in September, Education Minister Claude Meisch said on Friday.
Primary school pupils are to undergo testing three times a week instead of twice, as is currently the case, after a surge in infections among young children has now reached levels higher than last winter.
There have been more than 2,200 Covid-19 cases in primary schools and over 1,200 infections in secondary schools since September, according to figures from the Education Ministry.