One week of large-scale testing costs the state on average €2.3m Matic Zorman

One week of large-scale testing costs the state on average €2.3m Matic Zorman

The third phase, starting in mid-March and running until mid-July or even mid-September, depending on the health evolution, was to cost around €42.83m for the 15 March-15 July period, and more than €64m in the event of an extension until September. 

But the council of state, examining the bill related to phase three, questioned the LST budget transparency, particularly regarding the first two phases.

The budget is in fact planned on the assumption of maintaining a capacity of 53,000 tests per week, in addition to 1,000 serological tests. However, the state council notes that "a third of those invited ultimately responded, during the second phase of the test, to the invitation extended to them to be tested."

Variable membership rate

It considers it possible then that “the testing capacity, from which the costs are established, was only partially used, at least at the level of the second phase to which the data relates." Which begs the question on the repercussion in this phasing cost difference. 

The membership rate is indeed very variable: according to the director of health Jean-Claude Schmit, it decreases during periods when fewer infections are identified--such as during the summer holidays--while it increases when the health situation is worsening.

And this would indeed have had an impact on the final costs of the first two phases of the LST, minister of health Paulette Lenert (LSAP) explained in front of the deputies of the Committee of Health.

2.3m per week

The cost of the first phase ultimately amounted to €31m, compared to €34m initially expected. And the second phase would have ended up costing €56m, against a total amount of approximately €60.7m originally planned. On average, a week of LST would cost the state around €2.3m.

This investment would not be at a loss: according to a recent study by Research Luxembourg, the LST detected 26% of Covid-19 infections during the first phase of the operation, between 27 May and 15 September 2020.

This article was originally published in French on and has been translated and edited for Delano.