Luxembourg schools latest victim of Covid staff absences
One in ten teachers are currently off work with Covid-19, as schools and businesses across Luxembourg continue to be disrupted by staff sickness from the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Around 10% of primary and secondary school teachers are unable to teach at present after being infected with Covid-19, Education Minister Claude Meisch said in an interview with broadcaster RTL on Monday.
Last year Luxembourg hired 300 substitute teachers to replace staff off sick with Covid-19, Meisch added. However, that was before the highly transmissible Omicron strain became the dominant variant in the country in the final week of 2021.
The majority of people who are currently infected with Covid-19 are under 18, with 15% of all active cases in children aged between five and nine years old, according to the latest figures from Luxembourg's Health Ministry.
The Grand Duchy’s schools are not the only sector affected by staff absences linked to Covid-19. On Friday, the main hospital centre covering southern Luxembourg began barring visitors to protect both staff and patients after an "unprecedented increase" in cases.
The Emile Mayrisch hospital centre, also called CHEM, said there had been a series of infection clusters at its sites in Esch-Sur-Alzette, Niederkorn and Dudelange.
It came on the same day that bus companies operating in northern Luxembourg announced that further services would be cut "following the repercussions of the Omicron variant on the workforce of the RGTR network," the Transport Ministry said on Friday.
Luxembourg has been experiencing a record number of infections, with cases topping 3,000 twice in the past fortnight. There were just over 2,500 new infections registered on Friday.
Despite the spike in infections, vaccines have helped keep the number of people hospitalised at half of the peak hit during spring 2021 and intensive-care cases at just a third of last spring's wave.