Luxembourg's Health Minister Paulette Lenert and Health Director Jean-Claude Schmit held a press briefing earlier this Wednesday. The state of emergency is coming to a close, the public is again enjoying greater freedoms - but the virus remains a threat. Find our summary of the key points below.
- Paulette Lenert kicked off the press briefing by explaining that life is gradually returning to normal in Luxembourg. Most precautionary measures and restrictions have been lifted to a certain extent and the public is again able to enjoy greater freedoms. The minister stressed that this is also a dangerous phase - it could be disastrous to think that the virus has vanished and that safety recommendations no longer need to be observed. "We want to avoid a second lockdown," she stressed, citing worrying developments in other European cities such as Lisbon.
- The key weapons in the fight against the virus remain large-scale testing, contact tracing, and, personal responsibility. Lenert and Dr Schmit repeatedly underlined the importance of self-isolation in case of virus-related symptoms. A number of recent infections reportedly took place because individuals who displayed common symptoms still went to work. A new testing strategy is expected to be launched mid-July. Further details will be made public at a later stage. The Ministry of Health will also from now on hold weekly press briefing to keep the public informed about the latest developments and potential emerging trends.
- There are no worrying developments in the Horeca sector. Up to 10 people can now be seated at one table. Dr Schmit explained that a number of people contracted the virus at a private party. Large gatherings attracting more than 20 people are no longer illegal (see below for further details) but both Paulette Lenert and Dr Schmit appealed to individual responsibility. The public is also encouraged to keep track of the people they have been in contact with as this habit would make it easier for health officials to successfully conclude contact tracing in case of a new infection.
- Large private gatherings of 20 people or more are allowed without restrictions. The rule is slightly stricter for large public gatherings: they are also allowed but people have to be seated and physical distance must be maintained. If that is not possible, face masks are mandatory.
- Nightclubs remain closed as the risk of new infections would be too high in such an enclosed space. Saunas also remain closed (with the exception of one person being allowed in one cabin).
- According to Dr Schmit, the large-scale testing strategy allowed health officials to detect many asymptomatic cases. Lenert explained that the reproduction value of the virus has slightly increased, which means that a slightly higher number of new infections is possible. She stressed that officials are closely monitoring the situation and doing everything in their power to trace contacts and contain the virus as effectively as possible.
- So far no person has refused to self-isolate after testing positive, Lenert explained. If this occurs, adults are likely to be quarantined at CHL hospital but it largely depends on the individual case and context, Lenert explained.