In a press conference on Wednesday, Luxembourg's Minister of Health, Paulette Lenert, called for increased vigilance after COVID-19 cases almost doubled in 24 hours (from 230 to 416).
Minister Paulette Lenert confirmed that 37% of new cases had been detected directly through contact tracing from cases identified over the past week. She also called on businesses to telework wherever possible and for members of the public to limit movement on a voluntary basis.
The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is sharply increasing with 1,280 cases reported for the week of 12 to 18 October 2020, compared to 805 cases for the previous week (up 59%). The number of contacts also reached a very high level with 7,924 compared to 6,780 contacts identified the week before (up 17%). The number of PCR tests carried out amounted to 47,610 compared to 39,880 for the previous week.
As of Sunday 18 October 2020, the number of active infections stood at 2,405 (compared to 1,364 on 11 October) and the number of people having recovered from the virus rose from 8,234 to 8,471. Hospital capacities were under increasing pressure last week, although the Health Minister assured that they were still able to cope at present. Two new COVID-19-related deaths were reported last week.
The Ministry of Health added that from now on, it will only share the number of hospital beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients in its daily and weekly reports.
Between 12 and 18 October, the effective reproduction rate (RT eff) decreased slightly from 1.32 to 1.20 and the positivity rate on the tests carried out was 2.69% compared to 2.02% the previous week (average of the week).
The seven-day incidence rate was 205 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, whilst the 14-day incidence rate was 333 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Last week saw the average age of people testing positive for COVID-19 increase slightly to 38.8 years. The evolution of the incidence rate over the last eight weeks showed a recent increase in all age groups. The 15-29 age group still stands out as being the most affected, followed by the 30-59 age group, which experienced the largest increase last week. The incidence among young people aged 0-14 is the lowest and there was a sharp increase in cases among people aged 75 and over.
Luxembourg's Ministry of Health drew attention to the worsening situation within the EU, including in some neighbouring countries. In all Member States, a significant increase in new infections has been observed, including among people aged 65 and over who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. This same trend has been observed in many Member States with regard to the positivity and death rates which have increased over the past month. In addition, the number of hospital admissions linked to COVID-19 has increased significantly in 20 Member States.
The Health Ministry added that the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic is also worrying for Luxembourg. With the virus now circulating in a diffuse manner among the population, the risk of becoming infected increases dramatically, as does the impact on the capacities of the health system.
Health Minister Paulette Lenert stressed: “The days and weeks to come will be decisive if we want to act collectively on the trajectory of the virus. It is therefore more important than ever for everyone to show increased vigilance and responsibility".
In addition to the barrier gestures applicable since the start of the health crisis, the public is asked to limit their contacts, avoid non-essential activities and travel, wear a mask and protect vulnerable people as part of the national effort to stem the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Health also recalled that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who have not yet been contacted by Contact Tracing should self-isolate. Likewise, people who have been in contact with individuals having tested positive should self-quarantine while waiting to be called. The rules to be observed during self-isolation and during self-quarantine are available on www.covid19.lu.
For the week of 12 to 18 October, 3,124 people were in quarantine (up 51% compared to the previous week) and 1,677 in isolation (up 49%).
Among the main sources of infection, the family circle (or household transmission) remains the most frequent source, increasing from 25.3 to 31.1%. Cases related to education and travel have decreased. Both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth are closely monitoring the school environment in order to quickly identify probable sources. Between 10 and 16 October 2020, no new chain of infection was observed in Luxembourg's schools.
Cases without a determined source are sharply increasing with 43.2% compared to 36.6% the previous week.