Lockdown began from 16 March, two weeks after the first case of coronavirus was reported in Luxembourg.
“Between March 20 and 31, transmission rates decreased drastically. As a result, the peak of the infection curves was observed during the first week of April with around 1,900 detected active covid cases,” co-authors Michal Burzynski and Frédéric Docquier write.
Lockdown was eased in early May, when the infection rate came close to zero. However, had lockdown continued, the two projected that the number of active infections would have reached zero, capping total infections at 4,400 people. It would led to 1.4% of the population having the anti-bodies that provide some level of immunity.
As office workers return to their places of work, the two were “relatively optimistic that most economic deconfinement measures will not generate a relapse of the pandemic. However, the resumption of social life and, to a lesser extent, the reopening of Horesca activities generate more uncertain effects.”
Avoiding a rebound
To avoid a rebound, they recommend maintaining remote working practices. “All of our simulation results indicate that a cessation of teleworking practices induces large epidemiological damages, even if drastic mitigation policies are implemented,” they wrote.
They recommended that Horesca activities resume at half capacity to limit contact, while physical distancing and stringent hygiene measures should continue within family contexts, where much of the transmission of occurs.
Monthly PCR tests of resident and cross-border workers are “sufficient (perhaps not necessary) to prevent a rebound in the infection curve.” But the two said testing should be combined with phone-ap contact tracing and quarantining measures to be fully effective. This, they wrote, would allow a reduction in frequency of testing to every two months.
“Being in unchartered territory, there is no guarantee that our pessimistic scenario is the worst-case one. Hence, these accompanying measures might need to be tightened if infection rates are increasing more rapidly until a vaccine is widely available,” they concluded.