One in three tests positive for Covid at weekend
One in three Covid tests in Luxembourg at the weekend returned a positive result, according to figures from the Health Ministry on Monday, as the country prepares to loosen restrictions despite infection numbers remaining high.
There were more than 3,000 new infections recorded over the three days from Friday to Sunday, from just over 9,000 tests. It comes as proposed changes to the existing Covid law, aimed at relaxing current measures, were tabled at parliament on Monday.
If approved, the changes will allow eating and drinking establishments to stay open beyond their current closing time of 23.00, permit gatherings of up to 2,000 people, and drop requirements for those without a booster jab to take a test proving they are not infected.
Although the weekend total of infections represented a marked drop from the 4,500 registered on the previous weekend, the number of new daily cases remain stubbornly high.
Daily infection numbers have not dropped below 1,000 since 4 January, in stark contrast to November, when new cases averaged between 200 and 300 daily, before the onset of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
There were six deaths over the weekend, with 964 deaths now attributed to the virus in Luxembourg.
Despite the persistently high infection numbers, hospitalisation levels have remained stable, prompting the proposal to relax restrictions, following plans also underway in other EU countries. A total of 72 people are currently being treated in hospital for Covid, with 11 of those in intensive care.
"The positive situation in hospitals is allowing us to get back to a more normal way of life," Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said at a press conference on Friday announcing the proposed changes to the rules.
Just over a quarter of Luxembourg residents have yet to get vaccinated, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said during the press conference.
EU rules which took effect last week now require people in Luxembourg to get vaccine boosters to continue access to their workplace and other venues. Those who have not had a booster shot will be effectively considered unvaccinated nine months after receiving their second dose.