Due to a Covid-19 infection, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is currently in hospital and has issued a "delegation of signature" to finance minister Pierre Gramegna.

Over 800 detected new infections over the course of a week, 400 of which were discovered during the weekend alone. Once again, infection numbers are on the rise in Luxembourg.

On a positive note, the number of people who had to be hospitalised due to an infection has so far not increased. And for the third week in a row, no one has died from or with the coronavirus.

Read more: Ministry of Health records 398 cases from 13,342 tests, R rate climbs to 2.12

Among those currently hospitalised is prime minister Xavier Bettel. He was advised to remain in hospital for another four days following an infection with Covid-19. According to the Ministry of State, Bettel's condition is "serious, but stable".

Read more: PM Xavier Bettel in 'serious' condition, to remain in hospital

What is a "delegation of signature"?

While the prime minister will continue to coordinate the government's work, finance minister Pierre Gramegna has been issued the so-called "delegation of signature" (delegation de signature). This means that Bettel has transferred the authority to sign documents in his name to Gramegna.

Besides his role as Luxembourg's prime minister, this also includes Bettel's other areas of responsibility: communications, religious affairs, and digitalisation. The authority thus remains in the same party, the Democratic Party (DP), of which both Bettel and Gramegna are members.

Gramegna was, however, also chosen for practical reasons, as the Ministry of State and the Ministry of Finance are right next to each other.

Why did Gramegna receive this authority?

There is no law stipulating who is to receive a delegation of signature. For instance, if a minister goes on holiday, they will always delegate their signature, since the respective ministry must always remain operational.

It is standard practice that a signature is always delegated to members of the same party since it is ultimately also a matter of trust. It is also not among the responsibilities of deputy prime ministers Dan Kersch and François Bausch to sign documents on behalf of the prime, with their tasks including taking charge of a State Council meeting, setting the agenda, or managing daily operations.

Bettel is, for instance, not expected to head Thursday's State Council meeting from his hospital bed. Instead, Kersch will take over this task. Depending on his physical condition, the prime minister could potentially participate remotely.