Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the Minister of Health Paulette Lenert provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in the Grand Duchy at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The Prime Minister noted that the situation remains stable, with the positivity rate hovering around 2%. Should the situation stay like this, restrictions could be eased as early as next week.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel confirmed that, following its launch earlier that afternoon, over 4,900 Luxembourg residents had already signed up for the online waiting list for unused vaccine doses. Unlike the AstraZeneca waiting list, which is reserved for 30-54 year-olds, this new waiting list prioritises individuals according to age (oldest first). The list is open until 8 May 2021 and is aimed at ensuring no vaccine doses go to waste.

There are currently close to 30,000 people registered on the AstraZeneca waiting list, which opened on Wednesday 21 April 2021. The authorities sent out 16,000 invites to people on the list this week, with around 14,000 having already set an appointment to get vaccinated. The Prime Minister himself will be getting the AstraZeneca jab next Thursday morning.

The vaccination participation rate remains high, at over 75%, and the vaccine rollout appears to be taking effect: there are now fewer hospitalisations in people aged 65 and over there are in those under the age of 65. Around 193,000 vaccinations have been carried out to date, with 81% of available doses having been used. 15,000 second doses set to be administered next week.

On the subject of India, which is tackling rising coronavirus infections and deaths, the Luxembourg govenment has decided to send 58 ventilators to the country. Health Minister Paulette Lenert added that there are travel restrictions in place for people arriving into Luxembourg from India; arrivals must quarantine for seven days and provide a negative PCR test.

Regarding Luxembourg's testing strategy, Minister Paulette Lenert reiterated the importance of using PCR tests to detect the virus. She recalled that rapid antigen tests had been available in Luxembourg since October 2020, with newer models introduced in spring 2021. These tests are now available in supermarkets and pharmacies. She added that false positives were very rare, although false negatives are more common.

Rapid tests will be introduced into businesses and will continue to be used in hospitals and care homes, as well as for certain sports competitions. They can also be used by private individuals.