The government confirmed 77 infections and 1 death as the total toll for Luxembourg.
Coronavirus lockdown: everything closes
Luxembourg’s government has introduced a series of strict measures in an effort to limit the spread of covid-19 coronavirus. At a media briefing Xavier Bettel announced that restrictions on movement will be imposed, allowing people in principle only to travel if they are going to work, to visit medical facilities, go shopping, help others or to go out in nature--he said that people, and especially families with children, should still be able to get fresh air and could do so in rural settings that are less densley populated.
All public places will close as of midnight--that is restaurants, bars, clubs, libraries, museums and all shops apart from grocery stores as well as pharmacies, telecoms outlets, petrol stations and newsagents. Bettel said that the government had been working with the supermarket chains to ensure that deliveries of foodstuffs would be maintained. Restaurants are allowed to operate kitchens and can carry on with home deliveries, just as room service will be maintained in hotels.
Borders will remain open, even though the German border control had imposed checks on those entering from Luxembourg. Bettel said that cross-border workers would not be affected, and added that Luxembourg’s health system relies on staff from neighbouring countries.
In addition, the deadline for completing tax returns has been extended until 15 May.
This is not the time to mess around, said health minister Paulette Lenert. The government is taking these measures as further precautions to limit the spread and also the impact on the health system.
Sunday 15 March, 11am
Here is a brief roundup of covid-19 measures taken in neighbouring countries.
Belgium: Schools are closed until Easter. Shops, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, are closed during the weekend until 3 April; non-essential stores can open partially during the week. Bars, cafés and restaurants are closed until 3 April. Cultural and sporting activities are cancelled. Sources: AFP, Euractiv, Euronews and Reuters.
France: Shops were ordered closed on Saturday night, except stores selling food, pharmacies, petrol stations and tobacconists (The Local France and Reuters). Bars, cafés and restaurants have also been ordered closed, as have cinemas, nightclubs and theatres. Schools were already shut down till the end of the month (CNBC and Financial Times). Sunday’s municipal elections will proceed, but voters are asked to bring their own pens (BBC and Reuters).
Government services for financial aid for housing will only be available by email (guichet[at]ml.etat.lu) and telephone (Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm, 8002 10 10) starting Monday through 27 March, the housing ministry said on Saturday evening.
Saturday 14 March, 12:05pm
The City of Luxembourg yesterday announced a series of preventative measures and the cancellation of a series of events and training courses and classes that fall under its supervision. Perhaps the biggest news is the traditional Emaischen market, scheduled for Easter Monday on 13 April, has been “cancelled and not postponed”. The deadline so far set by the majority of venues and institutions, including schools, for closures and event cancellations has been 31 March.
Saturday 14 March, 10:35am
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s has confirmed Luxembourg’s “AAA” rating with a stable outlook. The move follows similar recent “AAA” ratings from Fitch and DRBS Morningstar. “By confirming the highest possible rating, S&P has demonstrated that this government’s prudent fiscal policies provide a solid foundation for our economy, entrepreneurs and employees to cushion the impact of the economic shock,” said finance minister Pierre Gramegna.
Saturday 14 March, 10:25am
The Kinepolis group, which owns the Kinepolis multiplex cinemas in Kirchberg and Belval as well as the Ciné Utopia, has announced it will close all three of its Luxembourg complexes until 31 March. “Customers who have already purchased a ticket online for this period will be contacted by email,” a statement from the group said. It has set up a special covid-19 page on its website.
The US embassy said it “adjusted its operations” and will introduce a “social distancing program” starting on Monday. “Reduced levels of staff will perform necessary diplomatic functions,” and continue to provide consular services to US citizens, the embassy stated on Friday.
Friday 13 March, 6pm
The first death was announced of a 94-year-old person. The total number of confirmed cases was 34, the government stated.
The government announced restrictions on visits to the country’s prisons effective of 16 March. There have been no cases of covid-19 in the prison centres. But to protect vulnerable inmates, visits to Schrassig prison will be reduced to 25 per week and hygiene conditions will be strictly adhered to. Visitors will be subject to checks and detainees will be separated from visitors by a pane of glass. Lawyer visits will be reduced to a strict minimum and activities requiring the intervention of external persons are cancelled. Transfers of detainees between penitentiary centres will be avoided where possible and transport of detainees to court will be reduced. Training courses and sports activities will cease. At the Givenich Prison (CPG), visiting hours will be staggered to avoid the gathering of several people in the same place. Here only training courses have been cancelled.
Friday 13 March, 3:30pm
The government announced the closure of the following cultural institutions until 31 March as a precaution to avoid the spread of covid-19: The Archives nationales, Bibliothèque nationale in Kirchberg, Musée national d'histoire et d'art / Musée Dräi Eechelen, Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA), Centre national de littérature (CNL), Abbaye neimënster, the Philharmonie, Rockhal, Mudam, Casino Luxembourg and Rotondes.
Liser announced it will be postponing all its surveys in Luxembourg until further notice. This includes its “Share” health survey focused on ageing, retirement and health, as respondents are in the 50+ age bracket.
The Bazaar restaurant and bar on place Guillaume II has said that it will limit seating capacity to 80 diners, and will not accept walk-ins when capacity is reached.
Friday 13 March, 11:50am
Mamer council has cancelled all public events up until 31 March. This included further education courses and sports training, classes organised by the commune’s “Club Senior”, the Mamer Maart market, private events by associations that have rented commune-run facilities and all shows scheduled at the Kinneksbond venue.
The national library in Kirchberg has closed all its counters and has automatically extended the loan periods for books that have been taken out of the library. The BnL's reading room remains open to the public, but will be limited to a capacity of 100 people - the limit on public gathering in a confined space as advised by the government on Thursday evening.
Casino 2000 in Mondorf-les-Bains has announced that it is cancelling or postponing all its concerts and public events up until 31 March.
Friday 13 March, 10:25am
The MNHA national history and art museum and the Dräi Eechelen museum have announced that they will remain open to the public unless the authorities issue fresh advice. But vernissages and other special events at the two museums have been cancelled up until the end of the Easter holidays, on 20 April.
Friday 13 March, 9am
Economy minister Franz Fayot is currently under quarantine. “At the beginning of the week, I had contact with a person who has in the meantime tested positive,” he posted on social media on Thursday evening. “Even though I have no symptoms, I have been in quarantine since lunchtime, just as the health administration prescribes. I continue to work from home and also attended a conference call with the Government this evening.” Fayot was at a screening of the Luxembourg co-produced documentary “Collective” at the Luxembourg City Film Festival on Tuesday evening, though there is no suggestion that is where he came into contact with the person carrying the virus.
Thursday 12 March, 8pm
In a Thursday briefing, prime minister Xavier Bettel confirmed that all schools and crèches will be suspended starting on Monday for two weeks, effective 16-29 March, to prevent further spread of covid-19.
It was also confirmed that the number of confirmed cases has reached 26, with a total of 400 tested. One of the confirmed cases concerns a 94-year-old in critical condition.
It is forbidden until further notice to visit elderly homes or hospital patients who are at greater risk, but exceptions may be potentially granted.
Events have been further limited: any event outdoors with 500+ people is forbidden, as are indoor events of 100+.
Cinemas will also be limited to 100 attendees per screening. The Luxembourg City Film Festival simultaneously announced it has cancelled all screenings, effective 13 March. Those who had purchased tickets will be refunded upon request. The virtual reality pavilion which had been held at Neimënster has also been cancelled.
Bettel added that 70% of those working in the medical profession are cross-border workers, adding that if the state were to close borders, it may as well close hospitals. Testing is currently limited to those who are most at risk. It is expected that a great proportion of the population will get the virus, but for over three-fourths of cases the symptoms are expected to be manageable.
Companies are strongly encouraged to allow telework.
Thursday 12 March, 4pm
European schools 1 and 2 requested students and pupils from the Grand Est region (Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne) to home quarantine for 14 days, starting 12 March, after the area was declared a risk zone. European School I. European School II.
Thursday 12 March, 10:40am
The Luxembourg health department announced 12 new infections with covid-19 in Luxembourg, of which two cases were transmitted locally. One case has been diagnosed on the Kirchberg site of the Robert Schuman Hospitals (HRS). Special measures at the Kirchberg site will be installed to limit patient visits, suspend scheduled surgical procedures and decrease outpatient consultations. It brings the total number of cases to 19, with 93 people in quarantine.
Risk area extension to the French departments of Oise and Haut-Rhin and the German Länder of Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Württemberg due to the large number of new cases.
Health directorate recommends cancelling or postponing gatherings of over 1,000 people in a confined space as a precaution against the spread of covid-19. The recommendation does not include schools, shops, businesses, public transport, shopping centres, restaurants and bars.