Luxembourg to drop masks, most other Covid measures
Number of people in hospital has remained low even as infections soared in January
Luxembourg is set to drop most restrictions put in place during the pandemic, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on Friday, including an obligation to wear face masks and show one's health pass in bars and restaurants.
The number of people in hospital had been limited during the latest wave of infections with the Omicron variant, said Bettel.
Wearing a face mask and a mandatory scan of the CovidCheck status will still be needed when entering hospitals, care homes and homes for the elderly, Bettel said at a press conference, together with Health Minister Paulette Lenert.
Wearing a face mask will remain compulsory in public transport.
"We have dealt well with the Omicron wave", Bettel said. "I'm hoping this legal text which will go to parliament next week will be the last one".
Business owners may choose to keep their own measures in place, asking customers to wear a mask to protect the health of their employees, Lenert said, calling on people to behave responsibly, wearing a mask when they are vulnerable, and taking a test when they feel ill.
People still needed to isolate after a positive PCR test, but can come out of it when rapid antigen tests turn out negative for two consecutive days.
The number of new infections was no longer a sign of the danger the pandemic was posing, Lenert said, given that the number of people in hospital and intensive care units remained low even as new cases soared.
Luxembourg recorded more than 3,000 daily new cases on several occasions in January - by far the highest ever during the pandemic - but the number of people in hospital peaked at levels that have often been exceeded.
The government had not yet decided to make vaccination mandatory for vulnerable groups of people, Bettel said, but is waiting on the opinion of five experts if a possible resurgence of Covid-19 in autumn could necessitate this. "We don't know what to expect in autumn", Lenert said.