Luxembourg scraps all Covid entry rules for non-EU nationals
Move comes as new infections jumped 30% last week
Luxembourg will scrap all Covid-19 entry restrictions for non-EU passport holders living outside the bloc from Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.
Travellers will be able to visit Luxembourg for any reason, including non-essential journeys, and without needing to show proof of vaccination, the ministry said on Thursday.
Until now, non-EU passport holders living outside the bloc or the Schengen area have had to prove their journey to Luxembourg was essential or hold a vaccination certificate that was considered equivalent in Luxembourg.
Some countries were given an exception, such as those travelling from New Zealand, Chile and Indonesia, and some people were exempt from the rules, such as those with long-term resident status, cross-border workers and healthcare staff.
More than 1,000 people in Luxembourg have died of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 12 are currently in hospital, one of whom is in intensive care.
In the week starting 19 September, 1,300 people tested positive for the virus, a rise of around 30% from the previous week, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Around a quarter of those infected in the last week caught the virus from a family member and almost one in every five infections was attributed to foreign travel, the ministry said.
The number of Covid-19 infections is likely to shoot up in the coming weeks as the virus is expected to spread faster due to more indoor gatherings in autumn and winter months, Thomas Dentzer, a virologist at Luxembourg's health ministry, said last week.
The new wave will mainly be the result of a combination of colder temperatures, people returning from holidays and increasing numbers of meetings being held indoors, Dentzer said.
However, the impact will be much smaller than in the last two years and will not put hospitals under the same sustained pressure as it did in the early days of the pandemic, the virologist added.
Although the Covid-related restrictions on travel have been scrapped, non-EU passport holders remain restricted to a 90-day stay in the Schengen area and must apply for a visa when required, as was the case prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.