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Luxembourg sets new infection record amid Omicron surge

Luxembourg sets new infection record amid Omicron surge

by Yannick LAMBERT 30.12.2021 From our online archive
US, UK and France have also set new daily records as countries grapple with more contagious variant
Covid testing center in Esch/Alzette
Covid testing center in Esch/Alzette
Photo credit: Gerry Huberty

Luxembourg set a new record in daily infections on Wednesday as countries worldwide registered over one million positive tests within 24 hours - the first time since the pandemic began - amid a surge of the more contagious Omicron variant. 

Luxembourg detected 1,230 positive cases out of just over 4,400 tests on Wednesday, the government said on Thursday. This comes after it already reported a new record of 1,053 the day before. The two days followed the festive period when people spent the weekend with their families and friends in close quarters.

The previous record before Tuesday's tally dates back to 17 November 2020 when authorities counted 889 infections in a single day.

Another person died from Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 912 since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of people in hospital, however, remains stable at 66, as does the number of intensive care patients which stands at 19.

On Wednesday, more than 7,700 doses of vaccines were administered, 85% of which were booster shots and 714 of them were first injections. Luxembourg introduced more restrictions on Christmas Day targeting the unvaccinated amid a surge in Omicron cases.

The effective reproduction rate is 1.39 and has been going up in recent days. If the rate is above 1, it means that one person on average passes the virus on to more than one other person, meaning the virus is spreading.

Some 60 Omicron cases had been detected in Luxembourg last week, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said in parliament last Friday. This was up from five cases just a few days before and the actual number of infections from the new variant is likely to be even higher.

On Wednesday, other countries also set new daily records, with France registering over 208,000 cases, the UK over 183,000 and the US close to half a million amid a surge in Omicron.

Some preliminary studies, such as one from South Africa where Omicron was first detected, indicate that whilst the new variant is more transmissible, it could lead to fewer severe outcomes and hospitalisations. However, this could also be due to pre-existing immunities in populations because of vaccines and prior infections.

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