In light of the alarming rise in new COVID-19 infections in recent days, the contact tracing unit of Luxembourg's Health Inspectorate will adapt how it works from today, Friday 23 October 2020, in order to increase reactivity in identifying contacts.
Whilst the Health Inspectorate will always call newly infected individuals by telephone, delays are possible due to the high number of people being called daily. As such, the authorities have recommended that anyone who receives a positive test result immediately begins self-isolating. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and who has undertaken a PCR test should also self-isolate as a precautionary measure while awaiting their test result.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted shortly by the Health Inspectorate and will receive a reference number.
In addition, the Health Inspectorate has recommended that anyone who tests positive for the virus personally informs their high-risk contacts to allow these individuals to self-quarantine. A high-risk contact is defined as: someone who was in contact with an infected individual for more than fifteen minutes; someone who was within 2 metres distance of an infected individual and without proper mask wearing; and / or where contact occurred within the 48 hours before the first symptoms or from the date of the test in the case of no symptoms.
The infected individual should also communicate the reference number assigned by the Health Inspectorate to their contact. This reference number will be used for additional procedures...
The Health Inspectorate will continue to systematically call contacts at high risk for infections in a family setting and will, as in the past, issue a prescription for quarantine which, if necessary, can validate a certificate of incapacity for work, as well as a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test on the sixth day after the potentially infectious contact.
Contacts who are not automatically called by the inspectorate and who require a quarantine order (certificate of incapacity for work) or a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test can send the inspectorate an email indicating the reference number of the infected individual. This reference number is communicated to the infected individual during their initial call with the Health Inspectorate. Communication by email is strongly encouraged as it allows the inspectorate to respond as well as possible to requests while managing its limited human resources more effectively.
The Health Inspectorate and the Union des Entreprises Luxembourgeoises (UEL) also agreed that employers may apply a certain tolerance in the deadlines for the delivery of certificates so as not to penalise employees following any delays by the inspectorate.
For anyone who still prefers to contact their GP to obtain these documents, the doctor can order a COVID-19 PCR test for the check-up on day six.
As a reminder, teleworking remains an option if there is an agreement between employer and employee.
Practical modalities of self-isolation
Self-isolation or isolation applies to people with a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Such individuals must self-isolate at home and people living under the same roof as well as intimate relationships must quarantine for a period of seven days. Isolation is prescribed by a doctor for a minimum of ten days after the onset of symptoms. During this period of home confinement, all contact with other people should be avoided and a surgical mask should be worn in the presence of other people.
Practical modalities of self-quarantine
Self-quarantine or quarantine applies to people who have had high risk contact with an infected individual. Such people should stay at home for seven days from the last contact with the infected individual. The Health Inspectorate will provide them with a sick leave certificate for work if needed. During this time, unprotected contact with other people should be avoided. From the sixth day, they will be asked, after receiving the prescription, to be tested for COVID-19 in a laboratory of their choice. If the test is negative, the quarantine is automatically terminated. During the seven days after quarantine, they must self-monitor and wear a mask when in contact with other people. If symptoms appear, they should immediately retest and go into isolation.