Minister of Health Paulette Lenert and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Photo credit: Anouk Antony
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert will address the media on Friday amid speculation they will give an update on new Covid rules as the country struggles to increase vaccination rates.
Various media reports suggested on Thursday that the country’s CovidCheck system, which currently grants access to restaurants, bars and other places to those who are vaccinated, tested negative or have recovered from Covid-19, will be expanded to also cover small parties and other places like museums and gymnasiums. Self-antigen testing will no longer be accepted, according to reports.
Prime Minister’s spokeswoman Liz Thielen could not confirm the information during a phone call with the Luxembourg hours Thursday. A similar requirement that went into effect in France in July has led to a dramatic increase in the number of unvaccinated people seeking their first vaccine.
Luxembourg remains one of the laggards in Western Europe, having fully vaccinated only 63% of its total population, behind 66% of France, 73% of Belgium and 86% of Portugal, according to Our World in Data de Oxford University.
The current Covid law is due to expire on October 18. When Bettel and Lenert held a press conference following a government meeting within two weeks of a new law in the past, they announced revised rules.
Currently, the CovidCheck system applies to gatherings of four people indoors and 10 people outdoors. People staying in a hotel or going to a restaurant or cafe can do a quick self-test if they are not vaccinated, tested, or have not recovered from the disease.
Bettel first suggested that the CovidCheck could be expanded and self-tests could be removed in September when he announced the current Covid law.
François Koepp, the boss of the Horesca group which represents restaurateurs, cafes and hoteliers, said Thursday in an interview with Luxemburger Wort that the government would stop allowing rapid tests at the entrance of hotel companies.
The new law – pending a vote in parliament – will come into force on October 19 and set out the new pandemic rules.