Luxembourg's Ministry of Health, together with the National Health Laboratory (Laboratoire National de Santé LNS) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), has issued a COVID-19 retrospective for the period from 17 to 23 May 2021.

Last week, and for the fourth week in a row, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continued to decline, from 728 to 495 (down 35.0%). The number of their identified close contacts also fell from 1,757 to 1,298 contacts (down 26.1% over one week).

The number of PCR tests carried out last week increased significantly from 49,715 to 72,118.

206 individuals tested positive following a rapid antigen test.

As of Sunday 23 May 2021, the number of active infections was down again with 1,283 (compared to 1,727 as of 16 May) and the number of people having recovered from the virus increased from 66,547 to 67,483. The average age of people diagnosed with COVID-19 remained rather stable at 31.1 years.

The number of weekly deaths (three) remained the same as the week before. The average age of those who died was 78.

In hospitals, there has been a further decrease in admissions of confirmed COVID-19 patients in normal care, which fell from 43 to 28 over one week. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also fell from 29 to nineteen. The average age of hospitalised patients fell from 59 to 58 years.

For the reference period, the effective reproduction rate (RT eff) decreased from 0.85 to 0.81 and the positivity rate on all tests carried out fell from 1.46% to 0.69% (average over the week). The positivity rate on tests performed through a doctor's prescription (i.e. people with symptoms) also decreased from 3.36% to 1.45%.

The incidence rate clearly continued its downward trend, with 78 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (down from 115) over seven days. The 60-74 age group recorded the largest decrease (down 53%) over one week, followed by those aged 75 and over (down 44%). Over-75s had the lowest incidence rate (twelve cases per 100,000 inhabitants), followed by the 60-74 age group (28 cases). The 15-29 age group had the highest incidence rate (120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) followed by the 0-14 age group (104 cases). Incidence rates were five to ten times lower among people aged 60 and over, who have been the main target of the vaccination campaign, than the 0-14 and 15-29 age groups, who have not yet been vaccinated.

For the week of 17 to 23 May, 1,662 people were in isolation (down 18.9%) and 1,898 were in quarantine (down 29.7%).

The family circle remained the most frequent context of transmission of COVID-19 infections (40.5%), followed by leisure (6.7%), the education environment (5.6%) and the workplace (3.5%). The source of infection was not clearly attributable in 39.5% of cases.

Vaccinations: update

For the week of 17 to 23 May, a total of 34,967 vaccine doses were administered in Luxembourg: 21,430 people received their first dose whilst 13,537 people received their second dose. This brings the total number of vaccinations administered as of 25 May to 324,903. A total of 112,791 people have been fully vaccinated.

Evolution of variants

For the week of 10 to 16 May 2021, population sequencing coverage was 67.5%, thus significantly higher than the optimal rate of 10% recommended by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for a representative sample.

Concerning the 630 samples carried out for week 19/2021, the following distribution can be observed:

  • the British (UK) variant (B.1.1.7) represented 79% of cases;
  • the South African (SA) variant (B.1.351) represented 5.7% of cases (down from 7.1% the previous week);
  • the Indian variant (B.1.617) represented 3.9% of cases (up from 0.74%);
  • the Brazilian variant (P.1) represented 3.7% of cases (down from 4.3%).

Wastewater monitoring 

The level of contamination of the thirteen sampled wastewater treatment plants studied by LIST has shown a constant downward trend in recent weeks. Analyses in the coming weeks should confirm this result.