Until Luxembourg's vaccination rate reaches 80-85%, new Covid measures must be implemented. "It is now up to the people who have not been vaccinated," said the Prime Minister. Health Minister Paulette Lenert called for solidarity.
"People look forward to more freedom...and don't understand why they must stick to sanitary measures even if they were 'part of the solution' and got vaccinated", underlined Bettel on Friday afternoon. The new Covid law will surely make life more difficult - and expensive - for the unvaccinated, who may no longer use self-tests to enter hospitality and leisure establishments as of 1 November. Instead of self-tests, certified rapid tests are permitted, as well as PCR tests.
Schools, clinics and care homes are excluded from the rapid test rule. They will still be permitted at those locations.
The new Covid law, which will come into force in 10 days and remain until 18 December, will make the CovidCheck regime mandatory in the hospitality sector, as well as in leisure activities inside. At the workplace, a voluntary CovidCheck can be introduced. This could make work much more pleasant, with employees no longer having to wear masks or maintain distance. Where there is no CovidCheck, the sanitary measures apply.
Due to vaccinations, if one employee tests positive for Covid, co-workers must test but do not have to go into quarantine while awaiting their test result - unless they have symptoms.
The government is worried about the winter period, and expects infection levels to rise. Hospitalisations are stable, however, with five in intensive care.
Too many people not vaccinated: Bettel
76,9% of people have received at least one jab. 73,8% of the population is fully vaccinated. "But this means a quarter of the people are not vaccinated", Bettel said. About 17% of people over 60 have not been vaccinated. 3/4 of infected patients did not get a jab. Vaccinations were the "only way out of this crisis", the PM underlined.
Bettel and Lenert encouraged people with doubts and fears of getting the vaccine to talk to their GPs and health experts at the vaccination centres - after all, they are there to help and answer our questions.
"When I got my vaccination - I am not a specialist - I trusted the experts," said Bettel. "Those who do not have trust today should not rely on information on Facebook. I get sent things every day, nonsense articles that are not true. It's up to us, the press and politics, to share the truth."
In those communities where the smallest number of people have been vaccinated so far, additional opportunities for getting vaccinated should now be offered. Thus, the government is in constant dialogue with associations and municipalities to see where numbers could be improved. But it should not become a "walk of shame", said Bettel. But the interaction with residents on a local level - especially in numerous languages - were vital in making Covid something of the past.
Luxembourg will also continue contributing to Covax, the global vaccine distribution system aimed at equitable access of vaccines, and has shipped doses to Cape Verde recently. There is now also a legal basis to approve vaccination certificates from third countries, Lenert confirmed.
"I'd be happy if in one month during the next press conference we could say: We did it!" exclaims Bettel. "But right now, it is still to early for that."