POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

10,000 people in Lux tested for coronavirus



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Paulette Lenert, the health minister, and Xavier Bettel, the prime minister, are seen speaking during a covid-19 press briefing, 25 March 2020. Government webstream image 

Luxembourg health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) and prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) gave a snapshot of Luxembourg’s preparedness in the face of the growing coronavirus in a televised press briefing at 4pm on Wednesday.

Luxembourg cases

Lenert explained that some 1,333 had been recorded as infected. At 11:30am the same day, some 143 people were in hospital, of which 21 were in intensive care units. In the latter group were six patients moved from Mulhouse in France, with a seventh expected to be transported to Luxembourg in the afternoon. No further deaths had been reported since Monday when the toll reached eight.

“It’s a relief. In general we are advancing well on the organizational side,” Lenert said.

Testing

In total some 10,000 people have been tested in Luxembourg, a figure that is proportionally higher than other countries. Lenert said that this explained the high number of reported cases. The policy of testing is currently reserved for vulnerable and at risk people with symptoms who might have complications. “We don’t have an unlimited number of testing kits. We’ve ordered materials but they have not all arrived. We’re trying to use our existing stock in an efficient way,” Lenert said.

Equipment

Despite waiting for a number of large medical deliveries, Luxembourg was able to buy and has taken receipt of 4 scanners, one for each hospital. The equipment will soon be operational and will enable health professionals to scan the lungs of patients with suspected coronavirus to see if the virus is there.

Volunteer response

A call for a range of skilled people to help at the country’s advanced health centres has borne fruit with 175 professionals coming forward. Three of the centres were operational by Wednesday, with around 100 people attending the Luxexpo centre, 25 in Esch-Belval, while the centre in Ettelbruck opened at 2pm today. A fourth advanced health centre will open on Friday at Grevenmacher’s cultural centre. In all cases, patients should call the hotline if experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Luxembourg participating in health study

Lenert explained that Luxembourg is participating in the French discovery clinical study around 4 medicines which could be effective against the coronavirus. Some seven people in Luxembourg will take part. Lenert said: “I’m very happy that our patients can benefit from these medicines.”

Police controls

Police continue to monitor the population to ensure the basic social distancing rules are respected in a bid to flatten the curve of the rise in coronavirus cases. According to Bettel, police are conducting an average of 200 checks per day, from which around 40 fines are issued. Around 10 companies have been reported for flouting the rules on opening to the public. “We must use common sense and respect the rules. If people don’t follow the rules, we will have to take new measures,” Bettel said.