Luxembourg to address Covid as Europe shuts down
Luxembourg is expected to announce on Monday how it plans to continue its fight against the coronavirus as countries across the globe scramble to deal with the newly discovered Omicron variant.
European Union members, including Luxembourg, at the end of last week agreed to rapidly impose restrictions on seven African countries - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe - as scientists rushed to determine whether the new Omicron strain is more dangerous or transmissible.
Countries across the EU are at the same time stepping up efforts to fight Covid-19 as many states across the 27-member bloc are seeing a surge in numbers. Austria went into a full national lockdown at the start of last week, while neighbouring Belgium imposed a lighter lockdown on Saturday, ordering bars, restaurants and shops to close their doors by 11pm.
Luxembourg has not yet announced any further measures to fight the spread of the virus but Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert will address journalists at 5pm this afternoon after a government council meeting. In the past, the pair have always announced new Covid-19 measures when they jointly went in front of the media.
Just last week, the government shortened the period of validity for PCR tests to 48 hours instead of 72 hours, making it harder for unvaccinated residents to access not only bars and restaurants but also their offices. The validity of rapid self-tests will be cut down to 24 hours from 48 hours now.
It is not clear if Luxembourg will announce stricter measures, but during a press conference just 10 days ago Bettel said he could not rule out new restrictions when the current Covid law expires on 18 December.
People who have stayed in one the seven African countries in the 14 days prior to arriving in Luxembourg will have to undergo a PCR test as soon as possible, quarantine for seven days and take a second test from the sixth day of quarantine, the health and foreign affairs ministries said in a statement late on Friday. The measure will be in place until 14 January.
The new Omicron variant has already been discovered in many countries outside of southern Africa including the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. Luxembourg has so far reported no cases. There’s no information to suggest that the Omicron strain affects patients differently than other variants, the World Health Organisation said on Sunday.