Luxembourg loosens Covid restrictions
Restaurant goers and revellers can now stay out past 11pm
Covid restrictions in Luxembourg have been eased, after parliament on Friday passed proposals by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel including lifting the 23.00 curfew in bars and restaurants and loosening CovidCheck rules.
A parliamentary three-hour debate on the new legislation began at 13.00, with 31 deputies voting in favour of the proposals and 28 against them.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel previously said that stable hospitalisation rates "is allowing us to get back to a more normal way of life", during a press conference last Friday at which he proposed amendments to the current rules.
Lawmakers rubber stamped the changes, after Luxembourg’s State Council – the highest advisory body – largely backed the new law on Wednesday, suggesting just minor amendments.
It comes as the number of people who tested positive for the virus between 31 January and 6 February fell by a quarter to 11,003 compared to the previous week, the Health Ministry also reported, the second consecutive week that the number of new infections declined.
Mandatory quarantine for those who have been in contact with an infected person has also ended, gatherings of up to 2,000 people are again allowed, while rules around vaccines and testing have been further relaxed.
The CovidCheck system – whereby workers have to show proof of a negative test, vaccination or recent recovery from the virus in order to enter – is no longer compulsory for entry to companies in the private sector, although several firms have said they intend to keep the checks in place.
For hospitality and leisure venues, those who have not yet received a booster jab will no longer be asked to take an additional test proving they are not infected. However, hospital visitors will still be required to show they have been vaccinated or recovered from an infection, plus be tested on site.
Luxembourg has followed decisions taken in other EU countries which have moved to ease measures. There has been a gradual relaxation in many nations, while Sweden and Denmark have scrapped all restrictions within the past week.
Luxembourg’s most vulnerable, such as people undergoing chemotherapy, can now have a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
The government said last month that it would back compulsory vaccinations for the over-50s and healthcare staff proposed by a panel of independent experts, but added it was leaving decisions over the specific details and which groups would be covered to parliament.
(Additional reporting by Kate Oglesby)