Updates on COVID-19 in Luxembourg

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

10 simple things we can all do!

  1. Keep your distance from others including avoiding crowds, not sharing elevators, and staying out of buses and cars.
  2. Check on our most vulnerable at a distance or using a phone; but, do NOT visit them – especially not with small children with us.
  3. Take supplies to those in need, especially things they are likely to worry about. Drop them off, but don’t come in.
  4. Strictly follow the Rules regarding Healthcare, including telephone consultations, remote diagnoses, treatment, and visiting a test facility when warranted.
  5. Pay close attention to your own health – both physical and mental – using effective health hygiene (like washing your hands) and staying in touch with others to keep important social networks in place. Loneliness can be just as deadly.
  6. Stay put; don’t travel. Right now, our homes can be among the safest places to be and we should all consider them as such.  Nowhere is more beautiful than a healthy, safe, and reliable destination that can protect us from the virus invading our countries.
  7. When you need food or prescriptions, use the drive through or delivery service, or, if necessary, the self-checkout line while always keeping a safe distance from others.
  8. Clean up after ourselves. There is no reason to make someone else deal with our germs.  A healthy dose of good manners can go a long way in keeping everyone around us much safer.
  9. Order online if that is an option. Check with your pharmacist, grocer, restaurant, and others to see if they deliver.  Use them.  And, be patient as we start, because it is something new.
  10. Finally, stay current through the websites, television, your healthcare providers, and friends and family. This is a rapidly changing situation and we just need everyone to stay up with the latest. Together, we can do this!

Ambassador J. Randolph Evans
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


Introducing Consular Officer Jackie Meeker

The top priority at U.S. Embassy Luxembourg is to serve and assist U.S. citizens in the country, particularly in difficult times such as those we are facing now.

The Embassy’s consular team, led by Jackie Meeker, pictured here, remains available to answer questions and help American citizens who need help.

If you need assistance, the best way to reach the consular team is through email: luxembourgconsular@state.gov. This email box is closely monitored, and messages will be answered as quickly as possible, but always within 24 hours.  Should you require emergency assistance, please call the Embassy at +352 4601 2300 and ask for Jackie.

The Embassy is currently maintaining regular consular hours for passport renewals and Consular Report of Birth Abroad appointments. Please visit our U.S. Citizen Services webpage, https://lu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ to make an appointment.

For the latest information and links to U.S. and local resources on coronavirus, please visit our COVID-19 webpage:  https://lu.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/


September 30

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 55 new cases of COVID-19 from 5,408 tests yesterday with no further deaths reported.


September 29

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 14 new cases of COVID-19 from 706 tests yesterday.  No new deaths were reported.

Switzerland has officially listed Luxembourg as an at-risk country and anyone entering Switzerland from the Grand Duchy must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.  A negative COVID test does not negate their quarantine rule.


September 28

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 124 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend with no new deaths.

Within the first ten days of school, 113 students were diagnosed with COVID-19 though, according to government officials, most are believed to be infected outside the classroom.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch held a press conference Friday to discuss and clarify COVID measures relating to schools. He noted family leave has been extended for parents of children who are in quarantine because they have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  He also offered three possible scenarios for quarantine and isolation of pupils.

Germany announced Luxembourg has been reclassified as a high risk COVID-19 zone, citing the increased number of infections in recent days. Though testing to cross the border has not thusfar been reinstated, Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn says he is in close contact with his German counterpart to monitor the situation.


September 25

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 67 new cases of COVID-19 from 6,100 tests. No additional deaths were reported.

Luxembourg aims to carry out 1.5 million virus tests for approximately €60 million between September and March 2021, with the second phase of large-scale testing to be more targeted towards specific groups in society including workers in the healthcare, hospitality, and teaching sectors.

The partial quarantine for teachers exposed to COVID-19 is causing a significant amount of confusion as the new COVID Act does not contain information on a partial quarantine, only a complete quarantine. The President of the Feduse Teachers’ Union stated he anticipates more clarity from Minister of Education Claude Meisch on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel greeted members of the public as he visited a drive through testing center which he also posted on Twitter Thursday.

Due to the impending economic and social crisis as a result of the COVID-19, the OGBL is calling for a second tripartite to be convened immediately. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stressed on Wednesday, however, that there would be no tripartite before his speech on the state of the country on October 13th.

Labor Minister Dan Kersch said Thursday Luxembourg could see even higher rates of youth unemployment later this year as graduates are putting off registering as jobseekers.


September 24

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday from 6,121 tests with no new deaths.

Luxembourg plans no changes in its official response despite multiplying Covid-19 cases, top government leaders said on Wednesday. “I am convinced that we are going in the right direction,” Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said at a press conference.

Belgium has officially listed Luxembourg as “red” on its COVID-19 travel ban list and starting Friday, will require any visitors from Luxembourg who will be staying for more than 48 hours to quarantine and provide a screening test.


September 23

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 100 new cases of COVID-19 from 6,416 tests yesterday with no new deaths. Overall, the spread of COVID-19 is decreasing in Luxembourg.

The Government voted yesterday to extend measures to combat COVID-19 until the end of the year. These laws were first introduced in June, but changes were made yesterday to make the laws more precise, including:

  • Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 will spend 10 days in isolation compared to previous requirement of 14 days.
  • Anyone in contact with an infected individual must quarantine for 7 days and can be tested on the sixth day after they were in contact with the virus.
  • People violating the rules can be fined up to 500 euros.
  • Masks are still mandatory, but face shields are not replacements for masks

Health Minister Paulette Lenert confirmed Tuesday that approximately 93 teachers from Luxembourg schools were placed in quarantine since the start of the school year. All the teachers received a letter stating they could request a return to the classroom, but none of the teachers have submitted such a request.


September 22

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 from 829 tests with no new deaths reported.

The Ministry of Education has clarified that teachers in a quarantined class have to go to school despite the quarantine, but cannot go anywhere else throughout the quarantine period.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

During the COVID crisis, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter featuring the Embassy’s guidance on Absentee Voting here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Newsletter-No-18.pdf


September 21

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 103 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday from 3,654 tests with no new deaths.

Although this weekend saw only a slight decline in COVID-19 caves, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is opposed to the idea of another lockdown according to an interview with L’Esstentiel.  However, Parliament is expected to extend the COVID-19 law for the third time in a vote Tuesday.

According to STATEC, Luxembourg’s GDP dropped 7.8% in the second quarter of this year following the first wave of COVID-19 infections, but expects a steep recovery next year.


September 18

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Media focus is squarely on Ministry of Health reports of Luxembourg’s alarming surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 147 new cases reported Thursday out of 8,951 tests -the highest daily total since March 26, a jump of over 25% from two days ago, and the highest figure since cross-border workers were excluded from daily infection totals.  No new deaths were reported.

The Government adopted a draft amendment to a future COVID-19 laws which will extend anti-COVID measures until the end of the year and reduce quarantine for individuals who have been in close contact with infected people from 14 days to 10 days.

Director Mark Zwick of the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) assessed market volatility seen across asset classes, finding it remains far above pre-crisis levels, with ups and downs still double the level of February’s swings.


September 17

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 110 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 10,143 tests Wednesday. No new deaths were reported.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Social Security Department confirmed that if a child is put in quarantine for a positive COVID-19 test or contact with a person with a positive COVID-19, one parent will be entitled to take compassionate leave for the quarantine period.

The Government agreed on recommendations in preparation of next week’s discussions on COVID-19 measures which included dropping the quarantine period from 14 to 10 days.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert and Agriculture and Social Security Minister Romain Schneider reported initial talks with the health care sector were positive with the focus on addressing the shortage of staff in the health care sector.

ArcelorMittal plans to let go 701 employees while hiring 123 more as part of the company’s plan to restructure in response to the current economic crisis. Labor Minister Dan Kersch and Economy Minister Franz Fayot discussed the changes with parliament and were dismayed that the decision was made without consulting the government or unions.

Ministers, unions, and employers will meet in another sectorial tripartite Thursday in a bid to save jobs in the aviation sector, which has suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis.


September 16

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 40 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 7,718 tests. No additional deaths were reported.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch continues to receive criticism and pressure from five teachers’ unions over the Ministry of Education’s reentry plan for schools. Educators of students with differing needs are particularly upset with the current plan. Minister Meisch continues to argue that young people are less likely to pass on the virus although the current state of research no longer supports such statements.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert suggested modifying Luxembourg’s current COVID-19 quarantine and isolation requirements during a health committee meeting as the anti-COVID measures are set to expire at the end of the month.

The second phase of Luxembourg’s COVID-19 testing program begins today with a plan to carry out 53,000 tests per week, compared to the 20,000 tests implemented per day in the first phase.

The Ministry of Health confirmed with Luxembourg Times that the majority of COVID-19 related deaths were patients living in care homes. Of the country’s 124 fatalities, 64 were residents in care homes.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs modified restrictions for individuals coming to Luxembourg. Exemptions from travel restrictions will be granted for short visits by family members who are EU citizens and for individuals who are life partners of Luxembourg residents. The Ministry extended restrictions for third-country nationals until 31 December 2020.


September 15

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 6 new cases of COVID-19 from 730 tests Monday with no new deaths.

Students across Luxembourg are returning to public schools this week, with a goal to make the school year as normal as possible with sports practices and school cafeterias open.

The Luxembourg Airport is the eleventh airport in the world to be awarded certification for its pandemic precautionary measures from the Airport Council International Heath Program by the International Airport Association.

Although Luxembourg researchers claimed success in their project that set out to test everyone who lives and works in the country, only 37% of the 1.5 million invitations sent to Luxembourg residents and cross boarder workers resulted in an individual taking a test.


September 14

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 44 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday from 7,812 tests. No new deaths were recorded.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert admitted there was a bug in the Ministry’s satisfaction survey sent to beneficiaries of Luxembourg’s contact tracing services, but maintains no personal identity data was compromised. When the form was translated into different languages, a problem arose which resulted in a person being able to see the answers to the questions entered by the person who had previously completed the form.

In an interview with LeQuotidien, Minister of Health Paulette Lenert discusses the “return to normal” during COVID-19 times before a vaccine is available.


September 11 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans 

The Ministry of Health confirmed 65 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 7,731 tests and no additional deaths.   

Minister of Education Claude Meisch presented educational innovations for the coming school year, which focus on the well-being of the students and future opportunities, in a press conference Thursday. In an interview with the Luxemburger Wort, Minister Meisch discusses his fears about the virus, the shortage of teachers, and digitization of schools and learning.   


September 10 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans 

The Ministry of Health reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 from 9,991 tests yesterday with no new deaths.   

The Ministry of Education released the numbers for returning pupils as schools plan to reopen next week- more than 58,000 children are in primary schools and 48,000 in high schools, paired with over 6,300 primary teachers and 4,500 secondary teachers. 

The Luxembourg Directorate of Health announced that it has no plans to reduce the quarantine period from 14 days to 7 days despite the French Government announcing plans to do implement the same. 

Swimming pools will open 15 September. Visitors will be required to make reservations and locker rooms, fitness centers, and saunas will not be open. Group swimming lessons are still suspended.  


September 09

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from 5,132 tests.  No further deaths were reported.

The Ministry of Social Security plans to authorize an unlimited number of days off for a parent if a child is in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19 reasons. However, the traditional legal framework governing leave for family reasons is in effect and still limits the number of days a parent can take leave for family reasons.

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca has announced a pause in global trials of its vaccine in several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, after the appearance of a “potentially unexplained illness” in a volunteer.


September 08

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday from 1,141 tests. No additional deaths were reported.

During a press conference Friday, Minister of Education Claude Meisch outlined the government’s strategy for the 2020-2021 school year in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The goal is to have schools function “as normal as possible.” Measures include:

  • Reworked testing strategy with a focus on families with children in which all students are invited to be tested and the plans for mobile testing
  • Routes mapped out in schools to ensure safe movement of students
  • Masks required in common areas
  • Maximum of 10 students at a table for meals
  • Masks are required during physical education as is handwashing before and after

Meisch has granted schools considerable leeway in how they plan to apply these new measures. He also ran through a sample scenario where one student in a classroom tested positive and quarantine for the class would be waived compared to if multiple students test positive where quarantine be mandated. Ultimately, Meisch stated infections in schools cannot be completely avoided.  

In an interview with RTL Radio, Minister of Health Paulette Lenert said she expects a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021 at the latest.


September 03

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 from 8,536 tests, with no additional deaths.

Based on studies from the past week, the latest COVID-19 infections are occurring in much younger and healthier people, and the number of hospitalized patients is slowly declining.

The International School of Luxembourg has placed two classes totaling 60 pupils in quarantine within just a few days of starting school, following 5 pupils testing positive despite being asymptomatic.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch will release the plan for reopening schools on Friday. He has already noted each school should maintain a certain degree of autonomy in order to adapt the rules to their needs.


September 02

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from 5,235 tests. No additional deaths were reported.

On Tuesday, Luxembourg lawmakers agreed to extend the COVID-19 restrictions until the end of the year.

With only two weeks to go until the start of the new school year, Minister of Education Claude Meisch stated he would announce new details of his Ministry’s plan on Friday. Discussions within the Ministry of Education are still ongoing and during a press conference on Tuesday morning, Minister of Education Claude Meisch said slimmed-down schedules were not an option and lessons will take place as normally as possible.

For the first time, “Summer School 2020” – tutoring courses at the end of summer — will take place in both lyceums and elementary schools.

National travel warnings are paralyzing travel across the EU and Foreign Minister Asselborn has been unsparingly critical of the differing approaches as Brussels attempts to take countermeasures.


September 01

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 4 new cases of COVID-19 from 718 tests yesterday. No further deaths were reported and the death toll stands at 124.

Luxembourg has gone from “risk area to a model student” in terms of infection rates, now that the Ministry of Health is only reporting infections from Luxembourg residents.

Research Luxembourg published new findings indicating a potential rise of new infections ranging between 30 and even 70% by mid-September. The analysis was published on Monday by the COVID-19 task force.

The Human Rights Commission is requiring storage of data on COVID-19 patients to be held for a longer duration. The change is receiving criticism from across Luxembourg,  specifically from the Commission Consultative des Droit de l’Homme (CCDH).

In a debate Monday between the government and lawmakers, politicians from all parties agreed there are no benefits from a COVID-19 contact tracing app. A motion in May obligated the government to research the idea, but it now appears Luxembourg will not launch an app for Luxembourg as did neighboring Germany.


August 31

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 93 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. There were no new deaths reported.

Media covered Ambassador Evans’ visit to the Luxembourg Science Center in Differdange to present Science Director Guillaume Trap with a $10,000 grant to create a hydrogen rocket exhibit which will be ready in April 2021 as part of the museum’s expansion.

The Government of Luxembourg announced Friday it was looking to extend some of the measures against COVID-19 until the end of the year, but still needs support from Parliament. The debates on the matter begin on Tuesday.

In an effort to avoid being “punished” for a high proportion of non-residents testing positive, the Ministry of Health has started to only publish the number of residents who have tested positive and retroactively applied this to statistics from the start of the pandemic.


August 28

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

On Thursday, out of 5,922 tests conducted, there were 51 new cases of COVID-19 and no further deaths in Luxembourg. The Ministry of Health has stopped releasing information official figures on cross-border workers because of concerns those statistics were unfairly distorting the country’s infection figures.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry published an updated list of countries still imposing travel restrictions on people from Luxembourg which includes: Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. For more information, reopen.eu has comprehensive travel restriction lists.

Media report teachers and parents are anxious as the fall school year opens, particularly  as the government has yet to present plans on how it will manage the spread of COVID-19 among pupils. The president of the FEDUSE teachers’ union stated, “There has been zero contact with the ministry since end of June.”  Although no exact date is confirmed, the Ministry of Education plans to present a step-by-step plan for the coming school year next week.

Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn refused to take a COVID-19 test ahead of the EU Foreign Ministers Informal Summit Thursday and Friday in Berlin, noting that the test was only for people coming from risk areas and Luxembourg was no longer a risk area as of 20 August. Asselborn stated, “It would have contradicted my intense criticism and work to have me tested now, where I was not in a risk area at all.”


August 27

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday of which 75 were residents. 8,150 tests were conducted. No additional deaths were reported.

Following agreements with France and Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium have agreed to extend remote work for cross border workers until the end of 2020.


August 26

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health recorded 35 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, 28 of which were residents, And conducted 3,386 tests.  No new deaths were reported.

Luxembourg and France agreed the tax agreement for cross border workers will remain in effect until the end of the year.

Since May, 30,000 tests have been conducted at the Findel Airport, an average of 450 per day and 3,000 per week.


August 25

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health recorded 5 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday of which 3 were residents. No additional deaths were reported. 1,161 tests were conducted yesterday, 948 on residents.

The Belgian and Luxembourg governments have agreed to extend the tax exemptions for cross border workers until the end of the year. The agreement between Luxembourg and Germany is automatically extended by one month.


August 24

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

According to the Ministry of Health, 71 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded over the weekend -58 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday- of which 15 were cross-border workers. Over 11,670 tests were carried out. No new deaths were recorded.

Luxembourg has extended the validity period from 48 to 72 hours for negative COVID-19 tests for third country nationals travelling to Luxembourg.

The directors of the International School of Luxembourg (ISL), OTR International School, and St George’s International School came together virtually with RTL Today this week to look back at their experiences before the summer and to discuss the start of the new school year.

Cargolux posted a picture of an impressive new design for a 747-8 freighter featuring a face mask as its nose art.


August 21

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 from 10,196 tests with no additional deaths. Of the 71 new cases, 53 were from residents.  The effective reproductive rate raises slightly to 0.92

Around one in four new COVID-19 infections in Luxembourg are diagnosed in people returning from holiday trips abroad, according to the Ministry of Health.

Cross-border agreements on telework between Luxembourg and Germany and France will expire on 31 August and Luxembourg hopes to prolong these agreements as Switzerland recently did with France.


August 20

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 67 new COVID-19 cases from 6,480 tests yesterday, of which 58 were residents. No new deaths were reported.

The German government has officially removed Luxembourg from its list of high-risk COVID-19 regions. Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn expresses relief at the news, stating “In a region that has such deep networks as the Greater Region of Luxembourg, [restrictive] measures represent a deep cut in the coexistence of people. We should ensure closer bilateral coordination in the future so that this does not happen again.”

Deployment of about two dozen Luxembourg soldiers to the West African country of Mali is expected to go ahead as planned, despite a coup that has forced the resignation of the country’s president.


August 19

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 30 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 3,979 tests, of which 23 were residents.  No new deaths were reported.

Teacher’s Association Feduse is critical of the government’s report on the risk of infection in Luxembourg Schools, demanding the risk of infection be taken into account in the step-by-step plan for return. Feduse noted one in nine students would have been infected at school before the summer.

The Ministry of Education, in agreement with the Ministry of Labor and the Tripartite, announced a new measure to support companies that help young people receive training and transition into careers.


August 18

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 11 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, 6 of which are residents. One new death was recorded.

Several outlets note while cases in Luxembourg has decreased over the last 14 days, the EDC statistics released yesterday show its COVID-19 case rate remains the highest in Europe, at over 121 cases per 100,000 people.

The Luxembourg Government has made testing available for all travelers returning to Luxembourg from abroad, not just by plane. Travelers can sign up for a free test on MyGuichet.lu.

Following an appeal from Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, the minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate Malu Dreyer has taken Luxembourg off the list of at-risk countries.

The APESS and SNE Unions welcomed Minister of Education Claude Meisch’s report on COVID-19 infection rates in schools and call for the return to school to be as normal as possible for students and teachers while still being compliant with necessary safety measures.


August 17

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Over the weekend, there were 53 new cases of COVID-19 in Luxembourg and one death, bringing the total number of deaths to 123.

On Friday, Health Minister Paulette Lenert outlined Luxembourg’s summer screening plan, which focuses on increasing follow-up care services for COVID-19 outpatients and the second phase of testing.  The second phase of testing is focused on strategic monitoring and identification of local outbreaks, testing for students returning to school, workers returning from collective leave, and testing for travel purposes.

On Friday, the Ministry of Education outlined the results of a report on the impact of COVID-19 on schools in Luxembourg, noting 2,711 people were placed in quarantine after being traced to infections at schools resulting in 152 positive tests. Ultimately, the report concluded schools are not a major source of COVID-19 transmission.

Although Luxembourg has fallen below the threshold of infections, Germany has not removed Luxembourg from its risk area list, with the latest update from the Robert Koch Institute on Friday.


August 13

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 58 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday with 44 of those cases residents. 7,600 tests were conducted yesterday, 6,547 on residents.  Deaths remain at 122

The daily average of COVID-19 cases in Luxembourg is trending downward from a second peak two weeks ago in Luxembourg and hospitalizations have stabilized. The number of tests carried out is also falling.

According to Health Minister Paulette Lenert, the COVID-19 restrictions regulated by the laws passed at the end of July will likely be extended beyond 30 September.

Face masks will be mandatory during Luxembourg City’s traditional street market on 31 August.

A team at the Health Institute in Esch working hard to find people in Luxembourg with antibodies for COVID-19 in an effort to run clinical trials.


August 12

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 5,502 test and 25 are residents. An additional death was recorded Tuesday making 10 deaths over a 15-day period and bringing the death toll to 122 people.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Luxembourg recorded the highest testing rate per capita in Europe for the week of 20 July. With 10,659 tests per 100,000 inhabitants, Luxembourg’s wide scale testing program rate was 5.7 times higher than the next highest testing program in Europe.

Although new cases of COVID-19 infections seem to be stabilizing, the opposition still has lots of question for leaders about the country-wide plan to manage and test for COVID-19, especially as many Luxembourg citizens start to return from vacation.

The mayor of the Belgian coastal town of Knokke has opened the city to day tourists again.


August 11

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19, 7 of which were residents. The death toll increased by one, bringing the total to 121. The country carried out 521 tests yesterday, 342 of which were for residents.

According tom the Minstry of Education, there have been three COVID-19 cases at summer camps so far, and in all three cases, the summer camps were stopped following the report of cases.

While Health Minister Paulette Lenert’s assertion 20% of COVID-19 tests can produce a false negative sparked concern, infectious disease experts are defending the country’s large-scale testing process, saying it does not call into question the quality of the tests.


August 10

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 36 new cases of COVID-19 with residents accounting for 29 of the cases; the death toll remains at 120.  A total of 6,575 tests were carried out with 5,836 on residents.

Six tourists from Luxembourg are under quarantine in Italy after testing positive for COVID-19.  The tests were taken in Luxembourg, but the group received results only after arriving in Italy.

Beginning today, France is requiring masks in crowded areas in Paris.  The United Kingdom has imposed quarantine restrictions on travelers from Belgium, starting last Saturday.

The Belgian coastal cities of Knokke and Blankenberge will now deny day tourists after a brawl over beach space in Blankenberge on Saturday.


August 07

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 66 new COVID-19 cases yesterday – 54 are residents. One new death was recorded bringing the total to 119. Health Minister Paulette Lenert said that up to 20% of COVID-19 tests could provide a false negative result.

In response to a parliamentary question, Health Minister Paulette Lenert accidentally published a map that shows new infections in individual municipalities in Luxembourg causing resentment among local politicians.

Starting Friday August 7, masks will be mandatory for people over eleven years old in certain public places in Thionville including in the city’s markets, the summer Rives en Fete site, and enclosed municipal spaces.

Minister for Medium Sized Enterprises and Tourism is cautiously optimistic for the tourism sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis in an interview with Tageblatt.

Some German hospitals are refusing to treat patients from Luxembourg except in emergency conditions.

The German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn declared yesterday that starting Saturday, Germany will require testing for travelers coming from high risk areas including Luxembourg.


August 06

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 92 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from 9,137 tests. Of the 92 cases, 79 were residents. No new deaths were recorded leaving the death toll at 118.

Numerous petitions concerning COVID-19 were put to parliament Wednesday including petitions for COVID-19 home testing and pushing for government transparency concerning infection data.

The Government is looking for a new partner to run the large-scale testing plan for the country which was formally run by the Luxembourg Institute of Health.

Traveling to Germany, even for shopping trips from Luxembourg is extremely restricted at this time and individuals wishing to do so must have good reasons and all the necessary documents.

A retrospective of last week’s COVID-19 events by the Government show that many Luxembourg residents who have tested positive have not quarantined and have even traveled on vacation with positive test results.


August 05

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Fifty-three new cases of COVID-19 were reported with no new deaths. Of the 53 new cases, 49 were residents. The death toll is 118.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch held a press briefing to discuss the new, more targeted measures to handle the COVID-19 crisis as schools reopen in September. Meisch noted that every school did not and will not experience the outbreak in the same ways and thus, measures will be different for different schools. The new measures will be based on a study still in progress. Meisch and the Ministry of Education have received both praise and criticism for their approach to schools and COVID-19.

Mayor of Esch Georges Mischo complained in a conversation with Tageblatt about how the stigmatization of the South as a whole as a result of the publication of the COVID-19 infection card.


August 04

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday. Seven of the nine are residents. One new death was recorded Monday from COVID-19 bringing the total to 119. The Ministry of Health reported 61 people are in hospital with 7 in intensive care.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert announced inconsistencies in official data on COVID-19 due to delays in the reporting chain and how quickly laboratories can process testing.

The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) clarified the exceptions for many Luxembourgers for testing when they cross the border into Germany noting “those commuting professionally will not be affected by the new regulations regarding testing when entering the country.”

Starting today, retail businesses can apply for financial assistance from the government. The package is for €1,000 per employee for the month of July, €750 per employee for August, and €500 for the month of September not to exceed €50,000.

Countries are continuously changing their travel restrictions across Europe. RTL summarizes and updates their travel page to include new information for travelers from Luxembourg.


August 03

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Three new deaths COVID-19 from COVID 19 were reported over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 117.   62 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Sunday, following 98 cases on Saturday.  Forty-eight of the cases from Sunday were residents.

Discussions are ongoing on Germany reintroducing border controls to enforce testing requirements for travelers. Travelers from Luxembourg crossing the border into Germany currently still have an obligation to be tested even for a short trip.


July 31

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Heath confirmed 83 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday from 8,442 test bringing the case total to 6,616. The death toll remains 114.  

The Red Cross praised the solidarity of Luxembourg residents who responded to appeals for help, donated money and blood during the crisis. 1,400 new blood donors registered following a campaign in the early days of the pandemic.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert held a press conference and the central message on Thursday was that there are few new developments. Luxembourg’s numbers are slightly increasing, but the situation is not critical.  

  • Two out of three people tested for Covid-19 display symptoms (one third are asymptomatic)
  • 88 cases (12%) were identified via the large-scale testing procedures
  • Average age of infected people is 35.2 years old
  • 33 people hospitalised over the course of last week (average age of 56)
  • 3,500 contacts traced by ministry, an “enormous task” but “a routine is beginning to form”, says Lenert

The UK will now require Luxembourg residents to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival due to an increased number of cases of coronavirus, according to an update provided by Luxembourg’s foreign ministry. Scotland was the first to report the new regulation. Travelers with a negative corona test are not exempt from the quarantine rule. The public health measures went into effect at midnight on Thursday 30 July. Prior to the decision taken by the U.K., The Independent, a British newspaper, has referred to Luxembourg as “Europe’s worst coronavirus hotspot” and questioned why travel restrictions are not in place. The article notes that the confirmed infection rate in Luxembourg is “1,382% higher than in the UK”, with 222.4 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 “compared with 15 for the UK.” Health Minister Paulette Lenert expressed disappointment in the international news coverage.   


July 30

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Heath confirmed 157 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday bringing the case total to 6,533. The death toll climbed by one to 114.

The Ministry of Health announced earlier this Wednesday that each Luxembourg resident hoping to travel abroad will be provided one free virus test, simplifying the current procedure of requesting a Covid-19 test to travel to a number of countries with travel restrictions.

Starting in August, Luxembourg will close seven covid-19 testing sites as it transitions to the second phase of its testing strategy in September. Dr. Ulf Nehrbass, CEO of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), addressed the closures as part of a more targeted strategy towards municipalities that record higher new infection rates.

The United Kingdom is considering re-introducing a 14-day quarantine period for travelers from Luxembourg.


July 29

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 38 new COVID-19 infections with 32 residents and six non-residents testing positive. One new death was recorded bringing the total to 113 deaths.

 

Over 11,000 requests have been made by residents seeking COVID-19 testing prior to travelling outside the country. Starting next week, the application processes promises to be simplified and more efficient with tests carried out at any of the drive stations around the country. However, as of Tuesday, seven of 16 drive-in test stations are closed during the test transition phase in August.

 

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert met her Saarland counterpart in Perl, Germany on Tuesday. The goal is a cross-border pandemic plan that could be presented at the end of the year.


July 28

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health confirmed 35 new cases of COVID-19 out of 812 tests, bringing the total number of cases to 6,321.  No new deaths were reported, leaving the total at 112.  Reports note the actual number of new cases in Luxembourg is 31, as 4 out of a total of 35 new cases were from non-residents -a distinction being made as the country tries to reduce its reported per capita infection numbers, currently the highest in the EU by a significant margin, which has resulted in bans and quarantines on travelers from the Grand Duchy.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel expressed regret over the ease with which countries decided to disregard the EU cornerstone of free movement. arguing closing the borders was a mistake on France 24’s English program “Talking Europe.”

Elementary School Teacher Kelly Meris from Cessange raised accusations against the COVID task force and Ministry of Education over their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, Lithuania all now require travelers from Luxembourg to produce negative COVID-19 testing before entering. Tests are free of charge for travelers.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced on Monday a tightening of measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, in the face of an increase in “worrying” cases in Belgium.

European Investment Bank employees with children aged 0-4 years old will be paid an allowance from the organization to help pay for childcare following the closure of its crèche.


July 27

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Heath confirmed 83 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday bringing the case total to 6,272. On Saturday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 133 new infections. The death count remains at 112.

The Government issued a “clarification” about the 12 COVID-19 clusters observed in Luxembourg schools stating a cluster is not synonymous with a source infection. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are jointly preparing an in-depth analysis of the impact of COVID-19 in schools.

The Luxembourg Institute of Health announced that as of Monday, the household in the south should be the focus of large scale testing because of their high infection rates.

Following Thursday’s announcement of new measures to better contain the upsurge in infections from the Chamber of Deputies, the Grand Ducal police outlined clear rules and penalties on their website as they prepare to enforce the new rules.

CSV President Frank Engel criticized the government’s deconfinement strategy calling for clear rules and careful monitoring to ensure compliance of these rules.


July 24

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

The Ministry of Health reported 98 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to 5,951. One new death in the past 24 hours increased the death toll to 112.

Parliament passed a third COVID-19 law, increasing requirements for wearing masks in public and decreasing limits on the number of children in a group from 50 to 30, but does not restrict citizens from meeting with friends and relatives.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 33 clusters in Luxembourg, with a third occurring in schools. On Thursday evening, the Ministry of Education maintained that despite clusters occurring in schools, there is no proof anyone has been infected in a school.

RTL released a comprehensive summary of the requirements for entry to countries across Europe for travelers from Luxembourg as travel restrictions rapidly change across the EU.

The Chamber of Deputies passed a bill allowing businesses to claim state subsidies of up to 50% of the costs of investment projects, a move Economy Minister Fayot says is crucial to boosting the economy.

Tageblatt says the construction of a military hospital in Luxembourg is becoming more and more likely, with the GOL approving a feasibility study of a military medical structure to use during pandemic situations and in support of the healthcare needs of NATO allies.

The EU announced an increase in co-funding for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations’ call for proposals to accelerate vaccine development by €100 million. A COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford has successfully triggered a strong immune response in trials involving 1,077 people.


July 23

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

On Wednesday, 129 new cases of COVID-19 were reported from 12,902 tests. The total number of cases is at 5,854 while the death toll remains 111.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, in which she discussed numerous statistics on the current rise in cases, noting only 13% of the tests from the increased push have come back positive. She also discussed measures put in place by the Government including increased staffing at call centers and offering testing for travel purposes.

As Luxembourg is increasingly being considered a risk area by European countries, The Luxembourg Government is offering testing for citizens prior to traveling; though it is unclear whether this is required for children.

Minister Corinne Cahen announced to the Commission for Family Affairs that 11 residents of a retirement home have tested positive for COVID-19 and 13 staff members are under quarantine.

Francois Bausch stressed in an interview with RTL “We don’t want a police state,” and said police can observe and take action within the stricter framework of the COVID-19 restrictions without invading citizens’ privacy.

A Tageblatt editorial warns Education Minister Claude Meisch is “driving a risky strategy,” dampening his claim that no student was infected within a school in Luxembourg during the summer reopening by saying “the black and white proof will be seen in August” when the results from Research Luxembourg are in.  It also questions the logic of the two week full school re-entry given the many unknown risks, and the lack of accounting for differences between adolescents and teenagers.

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) announced Tuesday an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Luxembourg’s waste water, particularly in the south.

The Luxembourg Parliament approved several laws to help cushion the financial blow of the COVID-19 crisis. 3,361 companies have applied for support from the Government for August, to help around 25,200 employees affected by the crisis mainly in the hospitality, tourism, and event sector.


July 22

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

On Tuesday, there were 86 new cases of COVID-19, bringing total active infections to 1,136. The total number of infections is now 5,725 with the death toll at 111. 9,027 tests were carried out, and of 5,725 confirmed cases, 4,662 are residents.

Parliament adopted two new laws Tuesday. The first law allots €60 million for a COVID-19 testing program in order to conduct more than 50,000 tests per week starting in late August. The second law increases medical training at the national university.

The COVID-19 Task Force published projections for COVID-19 cases on Sunday. “Research Luxembourg” stated, “The development of the virus does not look positive unless additional measures are put in place to avert a further crisis.” Research predicts Luxembourg’s hospitals could be overwhelmed in August if current virus trends continue.

The Luxembourg Foreign Ministry confirmed Switzerland has put Luxembourg on the list of countries with entry restrictions requiring visitors to comply with a ten-day quarantine. Negative COVID-19 testing will not allow visitors to avoid the quarantine rule. In addition, Luxembourgers traveling to the Saarland region must quarantine for 14 days and if one does not have a negative COVID-19 test that is less than two days old, they must quarantine when entering the Rhineland-Palatinate area.


July 21

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

On Monday, there were 35 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total active cases to 1,065 with fifty-three patients hospitalized, and seven in intensive care.  The total number of infections is 5,639 and the number of deaths is 111.  The effective reproduction rate is estimated at 1.17, indicating the virus is still spreading.

Tageblatt reports “the second wave is a reality” confirmed by the Luxembourg COVID-19 task force, warning “there could be a shortage of available intensive care beds by the end of August” and “even in the best case scenario, one can expect several hundred corona deaths.”  The Lux Times says scientists have painted a “dark picture of weeks ahead,” predicting 400 new cases daily if the virus continues to spread at the current rate.

Health Minister Lenert tells Tageblatt “there is no magic number” to indicate success or failure, but “it becomes alarming when we no longer have it under control.”  She offered that is not the case at the moment in Luxembourg, even though “the development of the numbers is unsettling,” and that a “second lockdown would fail our approach.”


July 20

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans 

The Ministry of Health confirmed 112 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday with no new deaths. There were 74 new infections on Saturday, and 124 new infections on Friday.  The total number of infections is 5,605 and the number of deaths is 111.

The Luxembourg Government met Sunday to determine how to adjust for the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert held a press conference late Sunday evening to discuss new measures. including:

  • A new campaign will start focusing on vulnerable social groups and stressing social distancing even in small groups
  • The number of people allowed to gather is a maximum of 10 people inside and outside a home
  • Sanctions of fines including up to €500 for people who should be quarantining leaving their homes
  • Police will increase checks on businesses and issue fines up to €8,000, possible 3-month closures and loss of state aid
  • Customers can face fines for not wearing masks
  • Working from home is still recommended

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel participated in the budget summit this weekend at the EU. At the summit, Bettel argued for solidarity, stating Europe is “not a grocery store where you can choose anything. Europe is about values that we defend.” EU leaders were pressuring Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and a handful of his supporters on Sunday to drop their opposition to a massive economic stimulus program. After three days, the leaders faired to find an agreement on a €750 billion response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a new study, Statec found the pandemic has worsened income inequality in the Grand Duchy, along class, gender, and generational lines.


July 17

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

On Thursday, 163 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded with no new deaths. Five individuals are in intensive care and 41 are in standard hospital care. Confirmed cases are now at 5,285 with the death toll remaining at 111. 12,144 tests were carried out in the past 24 hours and 43 the average age of confirmed cases.

Formal statements concerning the second wave are expected from the Government Sunday, but Minister of Health Paulette Lenert remarked, “There is a second wave for me.” Parliamentary opposition parties accused the Ministry of Health of withholding data which Lenert denies.

The European Court of Justice ruled against the E.U.-U.S. “privacy pact” declaring the deal “invalid” fearing potential U.S. surveillance.

Luxembourg’s Parliament voted in favor of Luxembourg’s new COVID-19 law Thursday which combines and replaces two previous bills from 25 June. The bill has one key addition making masks mandatory for gatherings of more than 20 people in both public and private settings and is in effect until September 30th. Claude Wiseler of the Christian Democrats criticized the government stating, “The organization of the end of the lockdown has been chaotic.” Tagelblatt opines that the Government is reacting too slowly.

The Government plans to carry out 1.6 million covid tests over a 30 day period and estimates it will cost €60.7 million.

A study by the University of Luxembourg anticipates that COVID-19 cases will double as the country starts a second wave. The Ministry of Health has produced a map (above) to show the density of cases by region between 22 June and 12 July with the highest in Esch-sur-Alzette.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn issued a statement regarding the recent restrictions issued by Germany on Luxembourgish citizens traveling to Germany. Overall, although Germany declared Luxembourg an at-risk area on 14 July, it is has not yet reintroduced any form of border controls or lockdowns. However, quarantine measures will be implemented for travelers from any at risk countries.


July 16

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg recorded 66 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday with 764 active infections and 5,122 total cases. Number of deaths remain at 111.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases and the government’s response. Bettel stated that the increasing number of infections is “alarming, but not shocking.” Bettel defended the country’s testing strategy as it gives a much better view of the spread of the disease stating “testing less is not an option.” The Government will make decisions as to how to adjust confinement measures in response in an extraordinary state council meeting this Sunday.

Director of Health Dr. Jean-Claude Schmit sent an alarming letter to the country’s GP’s Wednesday discussing the linear nature of the current spike in infections, but noting that the regain of freedom has led to increasing number of people disregarding safety and social distancing measures.

The International Bazar at the Luxexpo the Box has been cancelled in 2020 in light of public health concerns the event was scheduled for late November.


July 15

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg reported 100 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as parliament prepares to debate bringing back lockdown restrictions. No new deaths (total deaths remaining at 111) were reported and 11,280 tests were carried out yesterday. 908 of the 5,506 cases confirmed cases are non-residents.

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute has added Luxembourg to the risk list for countries as Luxembourg records the highest number of infections compared to size of the population in the EU. Countries are added to this list when infection levels reach 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days. Visitors from Luxembourg must quarantine for 14 days upon entry. However, leaders of German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland have spoken out in favor of freedom to travel to Luxembourg.

The care station in the cafeteria at the Escher CHEM was rebuilt in response to the rise in cases. The center was taken down when initial cases decreased.

Wort editorializes that alarm signals are increasing for a second COVID-19 wave.


July 14

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 38 people are in the hospital with 4 in intensive care. The total number of infections is 4,956 while the number of deaths remains at 111.

As Luxembourg increasingly becomes “terra non grata” for visitors the Government’s COVID-19 strategy is beginning to take criticism.

Education Minister Claude Meisch is receiving criticism for treating children and adolescents the same way as their older teachers in relation to COVID-19 infection risks.


July 13

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg recorded 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 83 cases on Sunday, the largest daily jump since mid-April. The total number of infections is now 4,925. One new death was recorded, the first since May 25, bringing the total number to 111. Statec reported that 62% of positive tests were individuals exhibiting symptoms while 38 % of positive cases come from asymptomatic people for the week of June 29-July 5.

Finland, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ireland, Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus have all either banned non-essential travel from Luxembourg, requiring self-isolation upon arrival, or a negative COVID-19 test. Neighboring Belgium has put  Luxembourg on the “middle danger” or “orange” zone which means that Belgians entering Luxembourg have no restrictions, but those coming from Luxembourg should be cautious when returning to Belgium. Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn discussed the situation on RTL radio and with Luxembourg Wort and stressed that the government is fighting accusations from other countries because the numbers, if considered out of context, do not reflect the real situation. Asselborn explained that Luxembourg’s recent infection numbers must be viewed in the context of the large-scale testing strategy.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch confirmed Friday that 27 classes have been quarantined and 60 students are positive for COVID-19.


July 10

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans


Sixty-nine new cases
 of COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday, the highest number of daily confirmed cases since April 16. The total infection rate is now 4,719 while the number of deaths remains at 110.

Six classes at the Lycee Technique de Lallange in Esch, one class at the Jongelycee in Esch, and two classes at the Lycee Technique du Center, are under quarantine.

The HORESCA (hotel, restaurant café) sector issued a statement reminding its members to abide by  hygiene rules:

  • A maximum of 10 people per table, exception: people living under the same roof
  • Maintaining 1.5 m distance between tables, or the installation of physical barriers
  • Customers can only be served while seated
  • Customers have to wear masks when not seated
  • Staff members that have direct contact with customers have to wear masks
  • Closing time is midnight

Infectious disease expert Ulf Nehrbass the upsurge in COVID-19 cases in Luxembourg “is disconcerting. It’s alarming. But it’s not really that we have lost control of the situation.”

Minister of Labor, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy Dan Kersch presented a series of new measures to fight unemployment on Thursday afternoon.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert was ranked the most popular politician in Luxembourg, followed by Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.


July 9

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Forty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Wednesday and no new deaths were reported.  The total number of infections is 4,650 while the number of deaths remains at 110.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert addressed Parliament Wednesday and launched an urgent appeal for the public to follow government guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and do what is necessary to avoid a second lockdown.  She stressed the importance of health officials and the public remaining alarmed, with complacency and non-respect of guidelines potentially ‘catastrophic, also encouraging travelers to get tested at airport stations on return from abroad.  These appeals come in the middle of Parliament’s weeks long deliberations on the changes to the COVID-19 laws sparked by a recent bump in reported cases. Prime Minster Bettel had planned to give his State of the Nation speech, but it was postponed in an effort to focus on the current situation.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert said  although the COVID-19 vaccine will be voluntary when it is available, the initial aim would be to get 50-70% of the population inoculated. Current EU policy is to get a minimum of 40% of residents vaccinated.

The Ministry of Education confirmed seven pupils from five different classes have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Lycee Technique de Bonnevoie and three of these classes have been completely quarantined.

In a discussion with RTL Radio, microbiologist and professor at University of Luxembourg, Dr. Paul Wilmes, stressed it was too early to evaluate whether or not the recent spike in infections was due to a premature lifting of lockdown measures.

The deadline for applications for non-reimbursable grants for small companies and freelancers will close on 15 July. Support for freelancers and small companies amounted to a total of €30.7 million, according to a Ministry of the Economy press release.

Trials for COVID-19 related lockdown infringements started yesterday in Diekirch, but only two of four individuals showed up for their trial dates.

The Ministry of Education wants to recruit teachers to supplement learning for students who were affected by the school shutdowns imposed under lockdown. Student progress during the lockdown was dependent on private circumstances, and the Ministry of Education wants to correct for any possible loss in education through tutoring plans.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.
Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!
Please enjoy this week’s newsletter featuring Ambassador Evans ’upcoming webinar here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Newsletter-No-16.pdf

 


July 8

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Sixty one cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Tuesday, the largest daily jump in detected cases in three months.  No new deaths were reported, and total infections in Luxembourg are 4,603 with the death toll remaining at 110.

Following a Health Commission meeting on Tuesday to discuss the modifications to the COVID-19 laws, the opposition praised the government, but stated there was room for improvement. The new law proposed by Health Minister Paulette Lenert last Thursday focuses on preparations for a second wave of infections.

The OGBL held their first National Committee since the COVID-19 crisis which focused on the crisis and tripartite that took place Friday. President Nora Back lamented social dialogue was not going as long as she would prefer.

The National Laboratory (LNS) has approved an extension for the National Diagnostic Centers for Pathology and Genetics to operate until 2024.


July 7

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Twenty new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Monday with no new deaths.  The total infection rate was 4,542, with the death toll remaining at 110.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert told Paperjam while the ministry had expected infections numbers to rise after the lockdown lifted, it did not expect new infections would be so clearly due to private parties.

A new draft law was introduced to Parliament which combines the previous two COVID-19 bills and addresses a potential second wave of virus infections, including introducing hefty fines for not respecting social distancing and hygiene rules.

Luxemburger Wort author Marc Schlammes opines since the “State of Crisis” ended last Wednesday, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s address to Parliament should have been made immediately after the state of emergency ended.

Modified high school graduation ceremonies took place across the country.

The Idea Foundation, a Chamber of Commerce think tank, proposed creating meal vouchers to boost the restaurant sector.

Eurostat reports Luxembourg’s retail sales across the country showed the largest jump in the EU in May, rising nearly 29% compared to April.

While Schueberfouer has been cancelled this year, a Ferris wheel is still coming to Luxembourg City.

Total Luxembourg’s CEO Patrick Schnell discussed the company’s experience with Delano during the COVID-19 crisis and its post confinement strategy.

Belgium has decided not to reopen its borders on 1 July to travelers from the 15 countries recommended by the EU citing health and reciprocity reasons.


July 2

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Forty-six new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday with no new deaths reported. The total number of infections is now 4,345 with the death toll holding at 110.

 

Health Minister Paulette Lenert and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel held a press conference yesterday to address the rising cases of COVID-19 in Luxembourg and government changes to the deconfinement measures. Neither attributed the rise in cases to the increase in testing for the entire population, but to “carelessness” and private parties. Tageblatt archly notes the government motto could be considered “trust is good, control is better.” Major updates include:

 

  • Plans for mandatory masks in places with over 20 people enforceable by law with possible fines and punishments
  • Events with over 20 people will be limited to 10 people at one table
  • Appeal to keep physical distance from people not in an individual’s household
  • Manual contact tracing over a contact tracing app
  • Health authorities are re-opening creches with an announcement expected next week

The rules on private gatherings and café and restaurants could be tightened again.

 

Ryanair has partially relaunched its activities at Findel airport. Ryanair now flies to Barcelona and Porto, but will add flights to Madrid, Sevilla, Palma, Milan-Bergamo, Malta, Lisbon, London, and Edinburgh in the future.

According to officials from the Ministry of Health, France will not extend the 29 day period of teleworking allowed for French cross-border commuters.

 

This summer’s Conges Annules festival at Rotondes will take place outdoors and will be free of charge starting 1 August.


July 1

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Forty-three new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 4,299 and marking a week of consistent double-digit daily figures, the highest daily growth since April. The number of deaths remains at 110.

 

Government Ministers are scheduled to meet today to discuss the latest data on COVID-19 and debate reintroducing limits on private gatherings after several parties were linked to a surge in cases. DPM Francois Bausch urged the government to consider toughening restrictions, particularly in the private sphere/parties, in an interview with Radio 100.7 yesterday.

 

Minister of Education Claude Meisch told MPs in the Chamber yesterday that two secondary schools were observing a strict, formal quarantine after eight people tested positive for the virus. Forty-five secondary school pupils are currently in quarantine. Six primary school classes are in quarantine across four different municipalities with 54 students in complete quarantine. Forty-eight other children have been placed in quarantine for other reasons, including participating in a football club photo session. An email was sent to all parents titled, “Facts and Scientific Findings for COVID-19 in Schools” discussing the Ministry’s COVID-19 measures in schools.

 

Parliamentarians debated the use of a tracing app on Tuesday in response to the increase in cases. Prime Minster Xavier Bettel reiterated his skepticism, saying such apps were still not compatible across the EU and inefficient if less that 60% of the population participates.

 

Minister for Tourism Lex Delles confirmed all residents over the age of 16 and cross-border workers will receive a €50 voucher to boost Luxembourg’s tourism sector, with a total budget of €37.5 million dedicated to the project.

 

On 1 July, EU member states will reopen their borders to travelers from 15 non-European countries including China, but excluding the U.S. The list will be re-evaluated every two weeks.

 

Cross-border workers in France will not be allowed to extend the number of days they telework without running the risk of having to pay taxes in two countries, according to the country’s Secretary of State to the Minister of Solidarity and Health.

 

Leaders in the insurance industry are concerned the pandemic could negatively impact Luxembourg’s thriving life insurance business if governments abroad start eyeing rich clients investing in policies designed to lower taxes.

 

Luxembourg-owned shoe store chain Chaussures Vedette has filed for bankruptcy and closed outlets throughout Luxembourg as the latest victim of the COVID-19 economic downturn.


June 30

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg recorded 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The total number of infections is 4,256 with the death toll remaining at 110.  Health Minister Paulette Lenert said, “We will know by mid-week whether the trend will be confirmed” and if Luxembourg is facing a second wave. Luxembourg’s Director of Health Administration Jean-Claude Schmit said he was surprised by the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections over the past few days, but it was too early to speak of a second wave.

The Ministry of Education confirmed Monday nine pupils and two teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the reopening of Luxembourg’s schools, with the most recent infections taking place at a secondary school in Luxembourg City. Three pupils in the same class contracted the virus and two classes in a primary school in Differdange have been put in quarantine. On Sunday afternoon, Minister of Education Claude Meisch said in an RTL interview the spike in cases over the past week was in large part due to parties and family gatherings.

On radio 100.7 this morning, DPM François Bausch called for restrictions for private gatherings be reinforced again after the numbers of new infections have sharply increased in recent days. The GOL wanted to impose and include such restrictions in the COVID bill, but due to a formal opposition in the Council of State’s opinion, the provision was dropped.

After discussions in parliament on Monday over a petition calling for the health sector to pay bonuses to health care workers who worked during the pandemic, the MP’s have planned a longer, broader debate saying it has not been ruled out, but many are reporting it is unlikely.

According to LSAP MP Georges Engel and confirmed by Social Security Minister Romain Schneider, the pandemic has left a €1 billion gap in social security funds due to the measures that were taken to fight the economic fallout from coronavirus quarantine measures. Schneider reiterated that thanks to reserves made in previous years, no other country in the world was able to respond to extraordinary expenses such as family leave.

The Ministry of Health and Agriculture confirmed yesterday that five administrative staff members working in one of Luxembourg’s two slaughterhouses tested positive for COVID-19.

Justice Minister Sam Tanson confirmed numerous measures were taken to support inmates during the lockdown including telephone bonuses, more outdoor walks, no individual isolations, and additional access to board games.

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (Liser) published a study on five recommendations to prevent COVID-19 cases from rising as a result of easing confinement measures.


June 29

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Twenty-five new cases
 of COVID-19 were recorded on Sunday and 44 were recorded Saturday, the biggest daily rise since April 21.  The total number of infections is 4,242 and the death toll remains at 110. Luxembourg’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jean-Claude Schmit, expressed his concern over the latest number of infections and said that the ministry would need a little more time to analyze, understand, and identify any new potential cluster areas.

On RTL Radio, Health Minister Paulette Lernert acknowledged a new wave of infections is emerging. Although tracing shows that majority of infections originated at private events and parties, some cases from the weekend have isolated origins which makes them more worrisome. Lenert expects a better understanding of the situation by Wednesday and asks the population to participate in large scale testing and respect strict sanitary and distancing measures. The Ministry of Health has also launched a new campaign called #StoptheParty on social media over the weekend.

The Government of Luxembourg decided that students will no longer be split into A & B groups as of today.  Education Minister Claude Meisch said that despite the rise in infections, the risk of getting infected at school is low.

President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce Luc Frieden told Radio 100.7 that if a second total lockdown was necessary, it would be “catastrophic.”

The Green Party cancelled the National Congress because of suspected COVID-19 cases.

Delano published discussions with six event and networking leaders, on their short and long-term plans for rethinking business post COVID-19 including.

As deconfinement measures continue to go into effect, Luxembourg Times outlines places to visit including online booking procedures and social distancing rules.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Amcham-Newsletter-25th-June-2020-REVISED.pdf (PDF 248 KB)


June 26

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Eleven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday, bringing the total to 4,151 but no new deaths, with the death toll of 110. There are currently no patients in intensive care.

Two new laws related to COVID-19 became effective after the emergency measures ended on Wednesday at midnight. The first law focuses on restricting mass gatherings, adopting protective measures like masks, and testing and isolating people who are infected. The second focuses on health restrictions related to economic, sports, cultural, and other activities open to the public.

Minister for the Middle Classes Lex Delles confirmed that the new COVID-19 bills would extend financial aid for businesses and independent workers until 15 July.

Family visits in nursing and retirement homes are allowed and inhabitants are able to leave the institutions again.

In an interview with Radio 100.7 also featured in Tageblatt, Labor Minister Dan Kersch said he expects unemployment to rates to peak at the end of July due to the COVID-19 crisis. He also said he saw no reason to renegotiate the GoL coalition agreement.

tracing app for COVID-19 infections developed by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute will launch in Luxembourg, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria and five other EU countries. It connects phones via Bluetooth and when a user tests positive, the information is added to the app and notifies anyone who has recently been in contact with that person. The app does not reveal the identity of the person who tested positive.

Sixteen Luxembourgish organizations launched an initiative demanding the administration lead by example and pair their support for business with respect and engagement for human rights.

The University of Luxembourg launched a research project looking at how people over 60 are experiencing the COVID-19 crisis with first results expected in July.

Member of the Council of State, Alex Bodry, the author of the 2017 amendment to the Constitution that allowed the government to declared a state of emergency, discussed the tool with Delano calling it “effective.”

Two scientists from the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) published a paper on the epidemiological analysis of the corona pandemic and its implications on everyday life arguing for a continuation of remote work and social distancing practices.

Only 15% of patients have consulted their physician virtually since doctor’s offices reopened in early May.


June 25

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total infection number to 4,140. No new deaths were reported, and the total stands at 110.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert and Health Director Jean-Claude Schmit held a press briefing Wednesday urging that although the state of emergency ended Wednesday morning at midnight, the virus still remains a threat. Key points from the briefing include:

  • Key weapons remain large scale testing, contact tracing, and personal responsibility including self-isolation in case of virus-related symptoms
  • 10 people can now be seated at one table
  • Large gatherings of 20 people are more are permitted
  • Nightclubs remain closed

The last three months are revisited in a retrospective in Luxemburger Wort looking at the 160 Grand Ducal regulations authorized by the state of emergency.

Residence permits that expired in March will now be extended for at least two more months according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

The City of Luxembourg started distributing a one time, €4,000 subsidy for business owners hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Four additional petitions will be debated in Parliament that include bonuses for healthcare workers, the demand that schools and daycares remain closed before the summer holidays, the introduction of a legal teleworking law, and the ban of 5G.

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for the COVID-19 ravaged world economy now predicted that the global gross domestic product will shrink by 4.9% compared to the 3% predicted in April.

 


June 24

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Twelve new COVID-19 infections were reported on Tuesday.  The second sudden increase of reported cases in three days is blamed on an unidentified private gathering.

Parliament passed 18 post-state of emergency bills on Monday with votes of GoL coalition partners DP and LSAP and the Greens. CSV, and ADR voted against the bills and the Dei Lenk and Pirates abstained

The Grand Est Regional Health Agency’s latest figures show a significant rebound in COVID-19 cases in the neighboring Meurthe-et-Moselle region. Five times the number of cases were recorded in the 24-hour period between June 18-19 which cannot be explained by increased testing.

A new agreement between Belgium and Luxembourg extends the COVID-19 telecommuting agreement allowing cross-borders to avoid paying taxes in both countries for an additional two months until 31 August. The agreement for French and German teleworkers currently has no end date.

CEO of Luxembourg Institute of Health, Ulf Nehrbass, explained in an interview with Delano the mass screening of the Luxembourg population strategy stating that “with mass screening, we can keep the a second wave flat.”

Avrox, a Luxembourg mask vendor, is at the center of a Brussels criminal investigation concerning the purchase of reusable face masks aimed to be distributed to the entire population which were delivered late and not certified.

Germany announced a new lockdown for the Rheinland-Westfahlen region on Tuesday after an outbreak of 1,500 COVID-19 cases originating at a slaughter house.

Although festivities were much smaller due to COVID-19 restrictions, a small ceremony was held at the National Solidarity Monument for National Day yesterday featuring speeches from Grand Duke Henri, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, and Chamber President Fernand Etgen. The Palace also published an official photo album of Prince Charles, the Grand Duke’s grandson born in May.

Summer sales in Luxembourg were not postponed as in France and Belgium counterparts and will run from 26 June to 25 July.


June 22

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

As of Sunday evening, there are 15 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths. This bring the total infection rate to 4,120 with the death rate of 110.

Cooperation and Humanitarian Action Minister Franz Fayot co-signed an agreement renewing Luxembourg’s funding and partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) for the next four years with WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel reflected on the COVID-19 crisis on RTL Radio Saturday stating that he would not do anything differently in retrospect. He also acknowledged that the COVID-19 bills up for voting today are “not perfect, but still better than the existing texts from 1980.” He added that this was not a time for government savings, yet he did not foresee a tax increase.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert confirmed that Luxembourg’s four major hospitals established a joint association to manage the national stock of medical equipment.

The pandemic has forced cultural and creative sector actors to dramatically rethink how they make art accessible to the public. Delano discussed with several cultural leaders how they have handled restrictions and their visions for the future.

Dutch police charged on horseback and fired water cannons to disperse protesters frustrated with the government’s COVID-19 policies. Dozens were arrested after fights broke up.


June 19

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Six new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths were recorded Wednesday with two patients in intensive care. The total number of infections is now 4,091 with a death rate of 110.

According to RTL, primary school pupils will return to one single group to schools on 29 June, scrapping the every-other-week A/B system. The altered hours of 8am-1pm will likely continue through July 15th.  Sports and swimming classes will resume as will one-day field trips. There are no details yet about how social distancing will be maintained or if masks will be mandatory all day.  Minister of Education Claude Meisch met with different representatives within the educational system this week to discuss reuniting classes. The state council will decide on the changes on Friday before they will be presented during a press briefing.

Speaking on Radio 100.7 Wednesday, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said that a tracing app warning people if they came into contact with people infected with COVID-19 could be created in Luxembourg “within a short time if we wanted to, if it was decided politically.”

An advertising campaign launching this week aims to accelerate Luxembourg’s efforts to find everyone infected with COVID-19 by offering everyone living and working in Luxembourg a chance to be tested before the end of the month. According to a statement by Dr Ulf Nehrbass from the Research Luxembourg task force on Thursday morning, interest is growing and 150,000 invitations to test are sent out each week. Currently, between 7,000 and 8,000 people are scheduling appointments every day and of the 50,000 tests conducted so far, 12 have been positive.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert confirmed that Luxembourg has a stock of 26.7 million surgical masks and has an additional 85 million masks on order as of the end of May.

Minister of Economy Franz Fayot explained in the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday that Guardian Glass plans to close its plant in Dudelange, labelling it the “first industrial victim of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Parliament voted on ten different bills Thursday focused on the State of Emergency including bills focused on investment assistance for businesses, family leave, and wedding ceremonies.

On Thursday, Minister for Tourism and Small Business Lex Delles held a press briefing to discuss the new “Smile Again” campaign, which  highlights the personal and social aspects of  shopping locally in a post-COVID landscape.

Yasemin Elci of Luxembourg Times picks her three favorite galleries in Luxembourg City to visit now that they are open post-lockdown.


June 18

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Ten new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Tuesday and no new deaths have been reported. This brings the total number of cases to 4,085, while the number of deaths remains at 110.

On Wednesday 17 June 2020, U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, J. Randolph Evans, hosted the official reopening to the public of the Luxembourg American Cemetery. The Ambassador was joined on this occasion by Chief of Defense General Alain Duschène, LuxAir CEO Gilles Feith and Cemetery Superintendent Jennifer Roman.

According to a joint Health and Family Ministry statement issued on Wednesday, the government wants to relax the rules on visits and outings to residential care home facilities so they are “in line with the new reality.”

Approximately ten percent of the passengers arriving at Findel Airport have taken the COVID-19 test offered by the government.

Luxembourg’s Council of State has accepted a draft bill that would allow the government to forcibly quarantine residents to stem the transmission of COVID-19 as long as it was strictly supervised.

Luxembourg’s government expects a deficit of more than half a billion euros this year in the national health fund as a result of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, officials said on Wednesday. About €300 million of the gap is the result of expanded payments for parental leave.

Delano outlines how a handful of large employers in Luxembourg will approach the return to work post COVID-19 lockdown including Banque de Luxembourg, ING Luxembourg, and Caceis Luxembourg.

During an online meeting of the party, DP President Corinne Cahen announced that they would make remote work a priority in the future and wants to negotiate one day of remote work per week for cross-border employees.

According to Eurostat, air passenger traffic in Luxembourg dropped by 60% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

As travel restrictions between countries ease, Tageblatt published a list of countries people can travel to – from Luxembourg noting that 80% of residents travel at least once a year with the U.S. the most popular destination outside Europe.


June 17

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Three new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths have been recorded since Monday.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert confirmed that there have been several cases of passengers testing positive for COVID-19 at Luxembourg airport after over 500 tests have been voluntary carried out. She also confirmed in parliament Monday that the intensive care beds at Luxembourg’s four major hospitals reached 45% capacity during the peak of the COVID-19 health crisis. However, the number of people overall that were hospitalized during the lockdown dropped by approximately a third.

The Luxembourg Council of State issued several opinions on the Governments COVID-19 bills including concerns about the legal procedures of “forced hospitalization” and portions concerning people’s freedom of private assembly.

Today Minister of Social Security Romain Schneider, Health Minister Paulette Lenert, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, together with representatives of employees and employers and healthcare providers will meet at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce to assess the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the health sector, specifically in relation to health insurance.

Minister Romain Schneider confirmed that the Government will spend €5 million to relaunch Luxembourg’s agricultural sector focusing on three major pillars: consolidation, promotion, and innovation.

Opposition parties in Parliament criticized the discrepancies and slow pace of deconfinement measures in the country’s 52 nursing homes. Minister Corinne Cahen confirmed that a new bill was in the works.

The Ministry of Mobility has proposed opening pop-up cycle paths in August which would close county roads to general traffic. Residents, farmers, and buses would still be allowed to use the roads, but the municipalities must agree first. Emile Eicher, president of Syvicol, said some municipalities welcomed the idea but felt they were at a disadvantage for not having been included on the list of the proposal, while others felt it was not necessary to close roads for a month as this would disrupt everyday traffic.

The hotline, run by the Grand Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps (CGDIS), received “more than 72,000 calls” between 2 March and 12 June, the Health Ministry confirmed on Friday.

Supported by Luxinnovation and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), start-up company, Molecular Plasma Group, is developing face masks with plasma technology that aim to “kill” viruses on the mask surface.

Led by the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (Liser) and University of Luxembourg, the large-scale survey aims to probe the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on physical and mental health, work, daily life, mobility and family relations.

Luxembourg reported the biggest decrease in trade among EU countries with a 34% drop to €4 billion in the period between January and April compared to the same cycle last year.

The organization of the “mini-Schueberfouer” has begun this week as the City of Luxembourg published procedures for fairground operators regarding the small events designed to replace the 2020 edition of the Schueberfouer. Unlike the Schueberfouer the replacement attractions could open as early as 11 July, lasting until 13 September. Planned opening hours will be 11am to 10pm.

Ladurée Luxembourg declared bankruptcy on 12 June and will close its tearoom as the latest business to fold as a result of COVID-19 closures.


June 16

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Two new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths have been recorded since Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 4,072, while the number of deaths remains at 110.

The 73 year-old Luxembourgish-language Lëtzebuerger Journal said Monday it will end its printed daily newspaper at the end of the calendar year and move to an online-only model as it seeks to cut costs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Curious where you can travel this summer? RTL has an interactive map showing travel restrictions in Europe.

In an interview with RTL, Health Minister Lenert said that most people that currently contract COVID-19 do so because they did not properly respect safety distances, a problem that often occurs at work.

Ryanair will restart service on more than 10 Luxembourg routes. Flights connecting Findel airport with Barcelona will recommence on 22 June, with Lisbon, Malta, Milan, and Porto on 23 June; Palma de Mallorca on 1 July; London-Stansted and Madrid on 3 July; Seville on 4 July; Edinburgh on 5 July;and Dublin on 3 August.

Education Minister Claude Meisch noted discussions were still ongoing to determine the path forward to bring A and B classes back together for the last two weeks before summer holiday.

Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg has said the COVID-19 lockdown led to a 70% drop in fuel sales, potentially helping Luxembourg meet its emissions target.

APEP, the national association of physical education teachers, shared in a letter its disappointment about being left out of the decision process around school sport by both the Minister of Education Claude Meisch and the Ministry of health.

The tram segment between Place de l’Etoile and Gare Centrale is still expected to be completed in December despite the COVID-19 crisis bringing construction to a halt from 20 March to 20 April.


June 15

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

7 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded Saturday and no new deaths were reported. This brings the total number of cases to 4,070 while the number of deaths remains at 110.

On 15 June, Europeans will be to enter Belgium, France, and Greece with Austria opening at midnight on Monday.

The Luxembourg large-scale testing program has administered 23,000 COVID-19 tests with five positive results.

Luxembourg has closed the telephone hotline created to answer COVID-19 concerns and calls for information will not be handled by assorted government agencies depending on the topic.

SYVICOL President Emile Eicher stated that the COVID crisis has caused many municipalities in the country to be on “shaky legs” with a budget loss of €420 million expected for this year.

The Horeca sector and businesses in Luxembourg City are struggling with reopening with some restaurants having no diners during lunch hours.

Direct flights are now available from Findel airport to Stockholm and starting 4 July, direct flights will be available to Salzburg.

The Philharmonie will open its doors again 18 June with strict new safety regulations including limited visitors and tickets only available online.

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Newsletter-No-12-1.pdf


June 11

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

3 new cases of COVID-19 were documented Wednesday with no new deaths. The total number of cases is 4,049 with the total number of deaths is 110.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel held a press conference Wednesday evening with Education Minister Claude Meisch to announce a further lifting of lockdown measures including:

  • The legal limit on gatherings of 20 people has been lifted so there are no government requirements for any event with less than 20 participants, while the recommendation remains to wear facemasks and remain a social distance
  • Outdoor fairs and events can take place with hygiene measures in place although large scale events like the Schueberfouer will not be reinstated this year
  • Competitive sports can resume only for individual sports with no physical contact
  • Face masks are mandatory for events with more than 20 participants
  • Maximum number of people at a restaurant table is now 10
  • Playgrounds are now open– children must wear masks at indoor playgrounds
  • A and B groups are still in place in schools but this path might be abandoned before the end of the school year (July 15th)
  • Children under 13 will no longer have to wear masks outdoors in public with the exception of on school grounds
  • Summer activities hosted by communes, scouts, and other organizations will resume with groups no bigger than 50, with 10 supervisors

City Mayor Lydie Polfer announced gymnasiums will open Monday and swimming pools will open on Wednesday for swimming clubs, but not yet for public use.

Lufthansa is expected to resume flights to and from Luxembourg Airport on 15 June with flights from Munich and Frankfurt.

Luxembourg’s Pierre Gramegna is now viewed as the front-runner to take over the group of Eurozone finance ministers.

Luxemburger Wort interviews Gilles Feith, the new chief at Luxair who had his first day of work on 1 June.

Norbert Becker – founder of Luxembourg tax advisory firm ATOZ – on Wednesday became the new head of the Administration des Biens de Son Altesse Royale le Grand-Duc, the palace said in a statement. The administration oversees the Grand Ducal family’s private fortune, but also the accounts of the household’s official activities. Becker takes over from Albert Wildgen, who served in the office for 12 years.

The state of emergency in Luxembourg officially ends on 24 June, but the so-called “COVID-Law” is still being heavily debated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government extended a travel warning for nations outside Europe until Aug. 31, as the country begins removing temporary checks on some of its borders.


June 10

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Six new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Luxembourg and no new deaths were reported. This makes the total number of infections 4,046 with 110 deaths.

13,000 people were invited to take part in COVID-19 testing with 5,500 residents in 49 care homes volunteering for testing. Of these elderly residents, 10 tested positive. 2,336 final year students were tested before resuming classes on May 4 and ten students tested positive.

The government majority and opposition clashed yesterday over the reopening of playgrounds.

While the Government has nothing against the construction of a pandemic hospital, Health Minister Paulette Lenert says a hospital cannot be expected in the short term and cannot solve the main problem of staff shortages in the hospital system.

Restaurants said that between 30-40% of their tables were booked over the Pentecost weekend; while hotels saw only 12% rooms booked; camping sites were equally empty.

As a result of low rainfall and fewer holidays this year, water resources will have to be consumed sparingly in Luxembourg this summer.

According to Statec, 25% of Luxembourg residents worry about their job security after the COVID-19 crisis.


June 09

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans 
One new case of COVID-19
 was recorded Monday and no deaths have been reported for the past 15 days. The total infection rate is 4,040 with a dead rate of 110.

Family Minster Corinne Cahen discussed in an RTL interview the reopening of playgrounds. She believes that the government council should decide on the matter Wednesday.

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna told parliament Monday only half of the state-guaranteed loans companies applied for were granted during the pandemic. Most companies are still in “restarting mode, instead of recovery mode,” Gramegna added. In an interview with RTL, Gramegna said in the end, almost €3 billion will be used to help support the economy.

Ulf Nehrbass, head of the Luxembourg Institute of Health, said large-scale testing is the safest thing communities can do now in containing COVID-19, so that if an infection chain should start somewhere, it could be recognized and an intervention could happen at an early stage.

SYVICOL is requesting a meeting with Prime Minster Xavier Bettel and several other ministers in order to discuss financial support from the state for municipalities.

Minister of the Middle Class, Lex Delles, announced the number of users of Letzshop, a native Luxembourg online shopping platform, has increased by 383% in the past three months.

Even though lockdown is easing around Luxembourg, hundreds of vulnerable people and their families must remain home because of pre-existing health conditions including those who are over 65, suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic diseases of the respiratory tract, cancer, immune deficiency as a result of a therapy or condition, or are morbidly obese.


June 08

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Four new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Sunday with no new deaths. This brings the total number of new cases to 4,039, while the number of deaths remains at 110.

Ten days after the country launched the third phase of lifting its lockdown, new cases of COVID-19 remain low in Luxembourg.

The advanced medical centers at the LuxExpo Site in Luxembourg City and Rochhal in Esch will close today, but can be reactivated within 24 hours if necessary.

With many parents hoping playgrounds would reopen, the Government has delayed decisions on lifting pandemic restrictions, but with a decision deadline of 24 June for when the legal basis for the COVID-19 restrictions expires. The expiration of these COVID-19 measures also means that a new plan for part-time work must be determined and unions have already been critical of Finance Minister Dan Kersch’s proposals.

Luxembourg has had a slow start to its effort to test all 620,000 inhabitants and 200,000 cross-border works carrying out only 3,500 tests last week.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced late last week the Luxembourg Government would increase its multiannual contribution to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, now allocating €5 million for the 2021-2025 period.

The government proposed a pair of measures to help virus-hit employers preserve liquidity by granting some “flexibility” around social insurance costs, including having sick benefits paid directly by the National Health Fund until the end of June.

Bike shuttles, car exclusions on certain roads, and luggage transfers for cycle tourism are among the latest measures designed to promote cycling in Luxembourg over the summer.

Rating agencies including Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch, have warned that if Luxembourg wants to maintain its triple-A rating, it should make sure its drastic rise in public debt is temporary.

As restaurant terraces reopen, Luxembourg Times offers their list of best “safe to serve” terraces, including Beim Renert in Luxembourg City and Tempo Bar ou Manger in Kirchberg.

The European Union plans to prolong a ban on most external travel into the EU until July 1st as member nations first remove internal border controls triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Luxembourg is still working to determine how to monitor students during online exams this year, but has ruled out any use of video surveillance software. Many students do not feel ready for exams because of the unusual conditions caused by the lockdown.


June 05

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Three new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Thursday with no new deaths.

MPs on the Parliamentary Committees of Justice and Health examined legal aspects of the two COVID-19 bills Wednesday. The new bills proposed include reducing the timeframe after which a person suspected of being infected must be isolated or quarantined from five to two days, and if a person is forced to be hospitalized, they can appeal to the district court within 48 hours, rather than the proposed five days.  Despite occasional criticism, parliamentary opposition appears to be largely in agreement with these COVID-19 laws.

Tourism Minister Lex Delles announced in a press conference the details of his recovery plan to help the tourism industry last night. Part of the measures include that all Luxembourg residents aged over 16 will receive a €50 voucher for an overnight hotel stay in the post starting July. The Minister discussed the new €3,000,000 tourism fund to help ailing businesses mainly reliant on volunteers get back on their feet after being hit by the quarantine difficulties. In addition, Luxembourg is concentrating its efforts to boost the tourism sector on attracting people from nearby who travel by car into the country.

Luxair and Luxair Tours announced a new offer called “Letz Go!” where for 51 destinations, 110,000 seats are available at €99 including VAT for the purchase of a dry flight or from €499 including tax for a package trip lasting 7 days.

Medical journal “The Lancet” withdrew a study on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against the new COVID-19.  Three of the four authors pointed out that they cannot dispel doubts about the accuracy of the data they used.

The Grand Duke was joined by Minister of Health Paulette Lenert on Thursday at a visit to thank hospital staff at CHL.

A report published by Novethic ranked Luxflag as the third largest European sustainable and responsible investment fund labelling agency, behind the French and Belgian labels.

According to a report from consulting firm PWC Luxembourg, employment at fund management companies (mancos) in Luxembourg has more than doubled over the past decade, with assets under management rising by more than a half since 2014.

 


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.
Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Newsletter-No-11.pdf  (PDF 254 KB)


June 04

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Four new cases of COVID-19 were documented Wednesday, with no new deaths.

 

Luxembourg City announced Wednesday several facilities will remain closed:

  • Gym classes under the Sports pour tous programs will be cancelled until further notice
  • City gyms will be closed until 15 July 2020
  • Municipal pools will be closed until further notice
  • Multiuse sports halls should reopen 15 June 2020
  • City cultural and community centers are closed until 30 September 2020

The ban on playgrounds because of COVID-19 restrictions may soon be lifted relieving parents. Minister of Education and Children Claude Meisch confirmed with Tageblatt that the government is rethinking its position on playgrounds due to new statistics on the spread of COVID-19 in children. A public petition was launched in support of reopening the playgrounds.

 

Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced Wednesday that Belgium will open its borders to travelers from the EU, Britain, and members of Europe’s passport-free travel zone on 15 June. Germany will also lift its blanket travel warning for European nations on 15 June according to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

 

As borders begin to reopen, cross-border workers still can work from home, but it is unclear when agreements Luxembourg has with neighboring countries over tax relief for cross border workers will end.

 

In draft legislation presented at the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, the Luxembourg Government would guarantee business loans of up to €150m, using European COVID-19 economic recovery funds.

 

The National Ethics Commission (CNE) strongly recommend the government consider using some form of computer tracing in Luxembourg without crossing “ethical red lines.”

 

A new study published in The Lancet medical journal confirmed the effectiveness of measures such as physical distancing and wearing face masks are at reducing COVID-19 transmission.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Dr. Gary LeRoy, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, outlines what you should have in your medicine cabinet to be prepared for COVID-19 which includes: a thermometer, cough drops and syrup, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.

The US government says it will block Chinese airlines from flying into the US in response to what it says is a policy that has prevented US carriers from service between the two countries.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the genesis of a new class of bonds, paving the way for fund managers to springboard from socially responsible investing to putting money toward the health crisis.


June 03

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

One new case of COVID-19 was recorded on Tuesday and no new deaths were documented.

With just three weeks until to go the Luxembourg State of Emergency expires, Parliament began talks Tuesday to write a host of measures rapidly introduced during the pandemic into permanent law. The two laws discussed were concerning forcing people to wear masks and keep their distances when meeting others and one deals with health restrictions and fines for food establishments.

According to the Ministry of Health, 10% of the Luxembourg population has been tested for COVID-19 since the beginning of the crisis.

Luxembourg health authorities have reported the number of children infected with COVID-19 is low compared to the rest of the population, in similar figures to other countries.

Researchers in the “Coronastep” study, published, May 28, found COVID-19 in waste water samples from 25 February, meaning the virus reached the country four days before the government announced the country’s first infected person.

Twenty one of the 55 eligible projects submitted for the funding to the Luxembourg National Research Fund have been selected. Of the 21 projects, even are ICT related, six concern biomedical and life sciences projects, three are in social sciences, three in law and economics, one in mathematics and one in sustainable resources.

Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn met with his Belgian counterpart Phillippe Goffin Tuesday to clarify the border situation between the two countries.

The “Centers de soins avancés” (CSA) in Ettelbrück and Grevenmacher closed their doors on Friday. At the end, Grand Duke Henri, Minister of State Xavier Bettel and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert came to Ettelbrück’s dyke hall to thank the numerous employees for their self-sacrificing work.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The Republican National Committee, because of contractual agreements, will still be required to hold some formal portion of the convention in Charlotte. But the performative aspects of the convention, including the President’s speech, will happen in another city due to COVID-19 restrictions.

International stock indexes rose on optimism that economic activity will improve as countries emerge from lockdowns and that additional government spending will shore up recoveries.

A senior U.S. Army vaccine researcher said on Tuesday it was reasonable to expect that some sort of COVID-19 vaccine could be available to part of the U.S. population by the end of the year.


June 02

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

One additional person tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. No new fatalities have been reported since 24 May.

A temporary testing facility for COVID-19 screening was opened at the Lux-Airport on Friday. Air passengers arriving in Luxembourg can get tested either at the airport or in a private laboratory under new safety measures. Those who test positive for the virus will have to isolate for 14 days and announce contacts.

On Friday, Prime Minster Xavier Bettel started the work on three COVID-19 laws including one to enact the hygiene rules of the current State of Crisis and one to establish socio-economic terms for support.

Bettel and Grand Duke Henri visited the final shift of the last COVID-19 emergency facility in the country, which is closing given the sharp downturn in cases in the country

A bill to adopt into law rent freezes beyond the COVID-19 restrictions was presented to the parliamentary housing commission on Thursday. Housing Minister Henri Kox said the bill would help maintain “a certain balance between tenants and owners.”

Following the re-opening of the Belgium-Luxembourg border over the weekend Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn criticized the German border controls with Luxembourg which had been temporarily reintroduced by Germany. “Without opening the Schengen area, the European economy will not be strong again,” said Asselborn/

The University of Luxembourg published an “exit simulator” to model what could happen as the country reopens. The machine, accessible to everyone on the internet, is based on various parameters and gives indications of how the number of infections and deaths could fluctuate based on different actions.

The good weekend weather attracted many people outside this weekend to enjoy the restaurant terraces and shopping streets. However, restaurant owners and mangers have expressed that the restrictions on tables and lack of business lunches have produced mixed results for profits.

Players were also allowed to return to the Casino 2000 in Mondorf-les-Bains, with new hygiene measures in place including partitions between machines.

Luxembourgers can officially holiday at campsites around the country, with a mask and social distance.

Prince Joachim, nephew of Belgium’s King Philippe, apologized for attending a party with 26 other guests while on lockdown in Spain.  He contracted the virus after attending the party.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Public health experts and government officials, including New York’s governor, are warning that large street protests over racial inequities and excessive police force could worsen the spread of COVID-19.

Hollywood studios and labor unions on Monday proposed extensive COVID-19 testing and other safeguards to allow actors and crew members to resume movie and TV show production in the United States.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter featuring our Memorial Day Ceremony here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Newsletter-No-9.pdf (PDF 221 KB)


May 29

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Seven new cases of COVID-19 were recorded Thursday and no new deaths were recorded. The total infection rate is 4,008 with a death toll of 110.  Authorities have carried out 950 tests in the last 24 hours.

The 60 bars and restaurants that received the “Safe to Serve” label from the Government to open their terraces on Wednesday drew packed crowds and most maintained social distancing standards.

The National Research Fund announced that from now until 28 July, 17 drive-through and three walk and bike through stations around the country will open for large scale COVID-19 testing.

The newest data sets from the CON-VINCE study show that 2.6% of the Luxembourg population have developed anti-bodies to COVID-19.

Luxembourg is ranked 5th highest in the world, above the United States, for infection rates with 516 people infected per 100,000 inhabitants.

The advanced medical centers in Ettelbruck and Grevenmacher will close this evening, the Esch-Alzette Rockhal facility will close at the end of the weekend, and the one at LuxExpo will remain open until further notice. After the pandemic, the Luxembourg hospitals plan to open a joint logistics center and pandemic medica facility.

Two hospitals in Luxembourg have started to allow patients to have visitors. The Centre Hospitalier du Nord has announced patients are allowed to have visitors between 3 pm and 7 pm for a maximum duration of one hour. The Hôpitaux Robert Schuman have followed suit with similar steps, allowing a maximum of one visitor per patient in the room for one hour only. Kirchberg hospital is hoping to reopen to visitors on 8 June.

Luxair resumes flights Friday. Travelers will find a more constrained but perhaps more orderly experience with new precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maximum capacities in elevators and space spots in queues. Ryanair stated they plan to resume activities at Findel airport on 22 June.

In a press release, Economic Minister Franz Fayot announced yesterday the “Fit 4 Resilience,” a program through Luxinnovation to help SMEs and other businesses transform themselves following the COVID-19 crisis.

An analysis of sewage water in Luxembourg has brought to light first traces of the COVID-19 as early as mid-February, well before the country reported its first official case of the disease it causes.

Prime Minster Xavier Bettel helped hand out complimentary face masks to the residents of Luxembourg City on Thursday.

The brewer Brasserie Nationale and its distribution arm Munhowen SA said they would support the struggling hospitality sector to the tune of €5 million. The company plans to give 10,000 free kegs to their commercial customers in Luxembourg, France, and Belgium during the month of July.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Tyson Foods Inc said on Thursday it will temporarily close an Iowa pork plant due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in cases among staff, a month after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered slaughterhouses to stay open to protect the country’s food supply.

Apple is reopening 100 more retail stores in the United States this week that it was forced to close because of the coronavirus, though customers won’t be able to enter many of them just yet. Most of the stores will only offer curbside or storefront services.


May 28

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Six new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Luxembourg Wednesday. No new deaths were recorded. This bring the total infection rate to 4,001 and the death toll holding at 110.

 

Sixty restaurants and cafes opened their terraces yesterday for the first time since the lockdown went into place in mid-March. These restaurants and cafes have already obtained the “Safe to Serve” label which means that they have adequately implemented the government guidelines and received the official green light to welcome customers.

 

Despite the government allowing cinemas and other cultural venues to open this Friday, the heads of the three groups that run Luxembourg’s commercial cinemas issued a statement saying they need more time to make preparations that will allow a safe viewing experience.

 

Luxembourg has banned the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients and will no longer be administered to patients participating in the Discovery Study, a clinical trial to research COVID-19 treatments.

 

The Ministry of Education confirmed six students have tested positive for COVID-19 since secondary schools resumed on May 11, with one case leading to further infection.

 

Upon request by the Luxembourgish government, 15 teachers from Portugal will support teaching staff in primary schools until the end of the school year for 15 hours a week.

 

Luxembourg MEP Marc Angel questioned whether the middle of the COVID-19 economic crisis is an opportune moment to maintain the EU convergence criteria known as the Maastricht Criteria, which prevents EU member states’ GDPs from surpassing a 3% deficit.

 

The Grand Duke and Mayor Lydie Polfer visited Luxembourg City’s recycling center on Wednesday.

 

Health Minister Paulette Lenert will be interviewed Thursday by Nathalie Reuter from Maison Moderne.

 

The Luxembourg Red Cross has extended its “Winter Action,” which provides overnight shelter for the homeless at a special Findel Airport facility until 30 June.

U.S. and Worldwide:

COVID-19 has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States, according to a Reuters tally on Wednesday, even as the slowdown in deaths encouraged businesses to reopen and Americans to emerge from more than two months of lockdowns.

Walt Disney World in Florida on Wednesday announced plans to reopen and MGM Resorts said guests could soon return to Las Vegas casino hotels, as more Americans emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.


May 27

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

2 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total to 3,995.  No new deaths were recorded, keeping the death toll at 110.

 

Minister of Education Claude Meisch thanked all those involved in reopening primary and pre-schools across the country as almost 52,000 students returned to school on Monday.

 

The Ministry of Health publishe COVID-19 infection rates for high school students and teachers tested before schools resumed. 39.7% of senior students took the test voluntarily and 0.12% tested positive. 52.1% of teachers took the test voluntarily and 0.15% tested positive. Of the remaining 300 secondary school students, 152 students were tested and one tested positive.

 

After Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced Monday restaurant terraces could reopen Wednesday and indoor establishments on Friday; preparations in the hospitality sector are underway.

 

The Government of Luxembourg has delayed the presentation of the COVID-19 pandemic draft bill to Parliamentarians until Friday.

 

Luxair pilots started intensive training yesterday in preparation for flight operations to resume at the end of the month.

 

A team at the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) has released a beta version of an online tool to simulate COVID-19 exit strategy planning for close to 100 countries.

 

STATEC reported nearly 70% of workers in Luxembourg have been teleworking during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

The EU Commission will present its COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan today, which is expected to reach €1000 billon. 

U.S. and Worldwide:

The CDC updated guidance on when it’s safe to leave quarantine, as well as some consumer-friendly guidance on using public transit and ride shares as states loosen restrictions on opening schools, businesses and leaving home.

California, the most populous U.S. state, took another step on Tuesday toward ending sweeping lockdowns imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, allowing barber shops and hair salons in most counties to operate for the first time in more than two months.

U.S. passenger railroad service Amtrak said on Tuesday it needs a further $1.475 billion bailout and disclosed plans to cut its workforce by up to 20% in the coming budget year.


May 26

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

One new case of COVID-19 was recorded on Monday and no new deaths. This brings the totals to 3,993 cases confirmed with a death toll of 110.

In a press conference , Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert gave guidance on the next phase of reopeningsCafes and restaurants can open on 29 May under certain conditions:

  • Terraces can open on Wednesday (May 27)
  • Tables will be limited to four guests- unless they come from the same household
  • No standing at bars allowed in cafes
  • No late night licenses -establishments must close by midnight
  • Tables must be two meters apart
  • Guests must wear masks when they enter and move about the restaurant, but not at the table
  • Guests will not have to leave their contact details for tracing purposes

Additional developments include:

  • For other events and religious services, organizers can collect names and contact details, but later need to destroy these details
  • Sports matches can now have an audience, but organizers need to allocate seats to visitors to maintain social distancing
  • Gyms are allowed to reopen on 29 May as long as they have conditions in place to comply with physical distancing
  • Swimming pools can reopen on the same conditions as above
  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds remain closed
  • Up to 20 people can meet outside as long as physical distance is maintained
  • More than 20 people can attend outdoor funerals, weddings, protests, congresses, and cultural events

After a significant reopening of business sectors in the first phase, preliminary testing has shown low infection rates in schools, construction sites, care givers, and retail sectors.

The drive through COVID testing stations in Junglinster, Käerjeng, and Marnach are closed as of this Monday.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is set to present a draft of the COVID-19 pandemic bill to the President’s Conference in Parliament today.

Primary schools, creches, and daycare centers reopened their doors on Monday after two months of shutdown. About 57,000 primary school students have been divided into two groups who will alternate weeks attending school. RTL features photos of the return. Each elementary school student was given two ‘buffs’ which is a tube shaped cloth face covering they wear around their neck until it is needed as a mask. These can be washed and re-worn. 3,545 high schoolers also took began their final exams Monday.  The Luxemburger Wort featured an interview with Emile Eicher in his role as Syvicol President on the return of students this week.

Large scale PCR testing in Luxembourg is set to begin this week. Authorities are calling on residents to volunteer when they receive an invitation. Paul Wilmes from the COVID-19 Research Luxembourg taskforce explained that invitations to be tested would be sent out by mail in three phases. The first phase, starting 25 May, will include those working in personal care services.

U.S. and Worldwide:

As Latin America becomes the new COVID epicenter, the U.S. government has imposed a travel ban on visitors from Brazil.

On Monday, the WHO announced that it has temporarily suspended clinical trials with hydroxychloroquine, which it was conducting with partners in several countries.

The New York Times front page featured a list names of individuals who passed from COVID-19.

The EU has recommended using tracing apps to better manage the COVID-19 crisis.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.
Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come!

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Newsletter-No-9.pdf


May 22

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Nine people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 3,980. The number of fatalities remains at 109 people.

 

In a recorded interview, Ambassador Evans talks to Lisa Burke at length on a range of topics, from space and this weekend’s Memorial Day, to thoughts on Climate Change and healthcare in the U.S.

 

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel held a press conference with Health Minister Paulette Lenert Wednesday. Overall, the ministers agreed recent virus developments are positive and give hope and the number of new infections continues to be low. Bettel stated if there is a second wave, we will have to act urgently, while Lenert said the virus is limited and the number of hospital patients are decreasing.

 

The Government of Luxembourg announced new measures Wednesday that will bring an additional €800 million to aid companies and individuals financially impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown. This new recovery fund brings the total package for restarting the economy to €3 billion.

 

The Family Ministry announced on Wednesday that Luxembourg has doubled its cost-of-living allowance to help low income families affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The Minister for Families Corinne Cahen unveiled two new deconfinement measures for retirement and care homes. Children will be allowed to visit again and residents who leave the facilities for medical appointments will no longer be placed in quarantine upon their return.

 

The Education Ministry has hired 872 people to assist with new measures in primary schools, which are scheduled to reopen on May 25th. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Education held discussions on COVID-19 with Pediatric doctors and the Minister. The general consensus from medical experts who partook in the round table discussions was that children must be allowed to play and regain some sense of normalcy as school resumes. Minister Claude Meisch, who also participated in the round table, said he was primarily there to listen.

 

The two private laboratories working on testing capabilities, BioneXt and Ketterhill, denounced the remarks of Minister of Health Paulette Lenert who questioned the quality of tests.

 

Luxair announced the restart of its package holiday service. LuxairTours will fly to Faro, Portugal beginning 31 May.

 

Grand Duke Henri visited a Post sorting center in Bettembourg in person and expressed his gratitude to the essential workers there.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The gradual reopening of businesses and restaurants in the U.S. is slowly improving the world’s largest economy. 

The U.S. paid Astrazeneca $1.2 billion to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine could be ready in October and is expected to be tested on over 30,000 people over the summer. 

Apple and Google released COVID-19 warning interface apps to health authorities in 22 countries. 


May 20

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Two additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday. There were no new deaths. The total infected count is at 3,947 while 107 people have died from the disease.

Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg has shut down its specialized COVID-19 intensive care subunit as the need for intensive care beds have rapidly declined over the past couple weeks. There is one COVID-19 patient in an intensive care isolated room.

Luxair plans to start flights on 29 May with flights to Hamburg, Munich, and Stockholm. Flights to Lisbon and Porto will recommence on 30 May. Luxair emphasized that they would implement the directives of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the WHO to guarantee the safety of its customers.

Students from the University of Luxembourg are making videos on math and language to support primary school students who have been out of school since mid-March.

The Ministry of Interior has published a map displaying the pick-up points for citizens to pick up their 50 face masks.

The MP of the Pirate Party, Sven Clement, has said it’s high time to end the state of emergency in an interview on RTL Radio Monday morning.

Luxembourg based technology firm, Molecular Plasma Group, is pushing its state-of-the-art cleaning solutions as a way to decontaminate masks and other personal protection equipment so that they can be reused.U.S. and Worldwide:

An experimental vaccine from the U.S. biotechnology company Moderna Inc. showed signs it can create an immune-system response to fend off COVID-19, offering tentative hopes in the global effort to combat the pandemic.

A CDC study, expected to launch in June or July, will test samples from blood donors in 25 metropolitan areas for antibodies created when the immune system fights the COVID-19, said Dr. Michael Busch, director of the nonprofit Vitalant Research Institute.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, a handful of U.S. schools have announced plans to bring students back, but shorten semesters by canceling fall break and ending in-person class time after Thanksgiving.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 900 points Monday, its best day since April 6, on hopeful developments surrounding a potential coronavirus vaccine.


May 19

 

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Two people died from COVID-19 Tuesday and 11 new people have tested positive according to the Health Ministry. Total number of infections are 3,958 with 109 deaths.

 

Delano advises Memorial Day 2020 with the U.S. Embassy as one of its Top Ten things to do in Luxembourg this week, offering links to the special video livestream of Saturday’s Memorial Day Ceremony which will be broadcast live on Saturday at 3pm.

 

The GoL confirmed in a press release Tuesday almost half of the surgical masks reserved for cross-border workers were collected during the first week of distribution. Distribution of 50 masks per person for the entire population will continue in a phased manner until 24 May. The Ministry of the Interior has made a map with respective pick-up points and the schedule available on its website.

 

As Luxair plans to resume flights at the end of this month, they also announced a series of measures under the slogan “Travel Safe and Clean” that must be respected by passengers and cabin crew alike. These include:

  • All passengers need to wear a mask for the entirety of the flight
  • Most flights will not be fully booked to allow for physical distance between passengers
  • Services will be simplified to reduce physical contact between passengers and the cabin crew
  • All passengers will be provided disinfectants upon boarding
  • Minors will not be permitted to travel without supervision

DPMS Dan Kersch and Francois Bausch and Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna are holding a press conference at 5:30pm today to present the government’s COVID-19 recovery package.

 

Around 1,500 tests are expected to be carried out on a daily basis as the large-scale testing project is rolled out, with testing capacity to increase over the coming weeks. Ulf Nehrbass, CEO of the Luxembourg Institute of Health, said the next phase of the project was designed to test the logistics and the IT systems involved to ensure all would run smoothly.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will meet with representatives of the clergy on Friday. Insights on the future of day-to-day church life will be presented on 25 May. “I do care about church, otherwise I would have left them alone without imposing any rules,” Bettel stated.

 

The Luxembourg Red Cross estimates it will need up to 30% more staff to run after-school clubs and meet demands of regulations on socially distanced methods of schooling and child care.

U.S. and Worldwide:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that any vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 should be distributed fairly without regard for wealth.

The shutdown of the U.S. economy due to the pandemic poses a “risk of lasting damage,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday at a Senate hearing.

A Texas federal judge on Tuesday ruled that all voters afraid of catching the COVID-19 can request absentee mail-in ballots due to the pandemic.

Central European countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia could open their borders to each other as of mid-June, officials said after holding two video-conferences Tuesday. All five countries have recently eased restrictive measures taken to fight the virus and are members of the 26-nation Schengen open border zone.


May 18

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Fifteen new infections and three new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Sunday. Luxembourg has tested over 60,000 people for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The total of numbers of infections to date is 3,945 with the death toll at 107.

Education Minister Claude Meisch announced the guidelines of primary school, creches, and special needs centers reopening 25 May 2020. Primary school key points:

  • Primary school classes will be split into 2 cohorts and will alternate attendance
  • Optional free after-school facility will be offered in afternoon in a separate building
  • Activities will take place outside as much as possible
  • Meals will be eaten in the learning space not canteen
  • Surfaces of toys will be regularly cleaned
  • Teachers will be required to wear masks where social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Masks are not recommended for children under 6
  • Supervision for children will be available in primary years 1-4 from 7am-8am, but in separate areas for the 2 groups

Creche and mini creche key points

  • Classes will be limited to 5 children
  • Activities will be held outside as much as possible
  • Toys and equipment will be regularly cleaned and disinfected
  • Meals will be consumed in the main activity space or classroom
  • Staff must respect 2 meter distance and will wear face coverings when they cannot
  • Staff will not wear masks when working with children
  • Staff will have physical contact with babies and with older children to help dress and console them
  • To send a child to creche after 25 May, parents must re-enroll their child and the new contract must run until 15 July 2020

Special education centers

  • Centers will no longer offer workshops during the school year
  • Diagnostic counselling services will be offered

Extension of leave for family reasons will stop except in the following instances:

  • Vulnerable child
  • Child who cannot be placed in care due to lack of capacity
  • Child over 13 years old who is receiving supplementary allowance for children living with a disability
  • Children under 4 years old- parents’ choice of either taking leave or enrolling in a childcare facility

The return to school in Luxembourg was met with a mix of emotions. The reopening of Luxembourg’s schools remains a controversial case both in political and social circles.

The Ministry of Health announced that the government’s COVID-19 hotline will have reduced hours starting today. The hotline will be open from 8am to 4pm.

Luxembourg has disbursed €40.5 million to small businesses and the self-employed through various grants and loans since the start of the crisis, the government confirmed in a statement on Friday.

Luxembourg’s high proportion of COVID-19 testing continues to give it one of the world’s highest COVID-19 positive ratios. Luxembourg had the highest proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases per million since mid-March.

Although shoppers were allowed to return to stores last week after lockdown, the government is now faced with the task of convincing them to start spending again as awkward scenes arose last week.

U.S. and Worldwide:

As governments draw up plans to get the world flying again, proposals aimed at keeping passengers safe are often confusing and contradictory. If implemented long-term, executives say they could do almost as much damage to airline and airport profits as remaining closed altogether.

Dramatic differences between fiscal countermeasures and fiscal stimulus worldwide to fight COVID pandemic: the U.S. government has announced additional spending in excess of 14 percent of GDP since March, while Japan pitches over 21 percent, 10 percent in Australia and about 8.4 percent in Canada, while the lack of common agreement in EU shows spending ranging from 1.4 percent of GDP in Italy to 1.6 percent in Spain and 9 percent in Austria, 4.9 % in Germany and 5.0% in France.

The U.S. warns of Covid-19 disease in children.

U.S. authorities are not yet seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases in places that are reopening but it was still too early to determine such trends, health secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday.

With confinement dragging on in New York, the future of the cultural and economic capital city of the U.S. is at stake.


May 15

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

In the last 24 hours, there were 11 new cases of COVID-19, and no new COVID-related deaths. The number of people requiring intensive care has dropped from 22 to 11 in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry on Thursday. The total infection rate is now 3,915 with 103 individuals having died from the disease.

A research study conducted by the Luxembourg National Laboratory revealed the majority of COVID-19 infections in Luxembourg have geographic origins from Italy or Austria.

The Ministry of Health has decided to reduce COVID-19 logistics crisis management center staff, in response to the falling number of new infections in recent weeks.

The Federation of Restauranteurs and hotels has issued new guidelines and a quality label in a bid to restore confidence in the sector once Luxembourg gives the greenlight to reopen. Members have to meet the four following criteria:

  • registration of the establishment with the government commissioner for quality, honesty, and food safety;
  • compliance with good hygiene practices and HACCP principles;
  • compliance with the government’s COVID-19 instructions;
  • implementation of all the necessary steps to guarantee the maximum possible safety of customers, guests and employees (social distancing, wearing of masks, etc.).

Minister of the Interior Taina Bofferding says there is no need to worry about the financial situations of Luxembourg’s communes despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic such as loss of income and reorganization cost of elementary schools.

The European Commission on Wednesday presented a list of recommendations to help kick-start the tourism sector, which accounts for 10% of the EU GDP.  These recommendations included restoring freedom of movement and reopening of borders in line with the health situation of each country.

The Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) will focus its research on how COVID-19 affects children compared to adults and the elderly.

Grand Duke Henri visited the Sonnebierg Farm in Hunsdorf to get an overview of this year’s asparagus harvest.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The U.S. Department of Labor issued its first workplace guidance to nursing homes on Thursday since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country and ravaged care facilities, saying residents, staff, and visitors should keep 6 feet (1.83 meters) apart.

The U.S. is upping military pressure on China amid increased tensions over the South China Sea and accusing Beijing of seeking to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to extend its sphere of influence in the region.

An additional three million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, continuing a two-month trend of historically high claims as the COVID-19 pandemic rippled through the U.S. economy.


American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Weekly Newsletter

AMCHAM is an independent and self-funded English speaking ASBL, the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg. 

Each week, they have produced an excellent newsletter to support and inform their members and the Luxembourg community during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Embassy is grateful for their partnership and their support now and in the past and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the days to come! 

Please enjoy this week’s newsletter featuring our Victory in Europe Commemorations here: https://www.amcham.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Newsletter-No-8.pdf 


May 14

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Ten people tested positive for COVID-19 and one individual passed away in the last 24 hours. Current totals are 3,904 infections and 103 deaths from the virus.

Education Minister Claude Meisch spoke to RTL TV evening news about the logistics of elementary and daycare facilities reopening which include:

  • 500 additional staff are needed because of split classes
  • 1,000 people who have experience working with children have volunteered to help with the reopening
  • Widespread and extensive COVID-19 testing of the population will start 1 June

According to a statement published on the Luxembourg II School in Bertrange website, Primary P1 and P5 will to school on 26 May, but it is still unclear when nursery, secondary, and remaining primary cycles will return.

Prime Minster Xavier Bettel reiterated Tuesday before the Chamber of Deputies that vigilance and close monitoring of the deconfinement are essential because a second fatal wave of COVID-19 cannot be ruled out.

Luxembourg Municipalities will distribute 27 million masks, starting 25 May.

Restrictions on crossing between the German-Luxembourg border will end on 15 May for business and family visits. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stated Germany aims to return to normal border operations by 15 June as long as the spread of the disease remains under control.

Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Economy specified Wednesday the state has so far injected €30 million into small enterprises and paid €637.4 million to cover part-time working costs.

According to information obtained by RTL, the government gave in to the trade unions’ requests for a meeting, and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will meet with union representatives on Thursday. Trade Union LCGB has demanded 60-hour work weeks, which companies have been specially empowered to request of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, be abolished as the country returns to normal.

Minister Corinne Cahen revealed the latest figures of COVID-19 infections in elderly homes which are:

  • 63 residents tested positive for COVID-19
  • 75 residents have recovered of COVID-19
  • 35 residents have died from COVID-19
  • No new cases have been detected since 30 April

U.S. and Worldwide:

French drug giant Sanofi, will likely give preference to the U.S. for the COVID-19 vaccine because the U.S. was the first to fund Sanofi’s vaccine research.

Parents, hospitals and clinics should expect to see more cases of a mystifying condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome, that seems to be affecting children after a bout with COVID-19, doctors said Wednesday.

Two of the most popular national parks in the American West – Yellowstone and Grand Canyon – will welcome back visitors on a limited basis over the next several days after lengthy closures due to the COVID-19, the government announced on Wednesday.

Nearly all 50 U.S. states have begun to allow some businesses to reopen and residents to move more freely, but only 14 states have met the federal government’s guidelines for lifting measures aimed at fighting the pandemic, according to a Reuters analysis. Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania have reported four to five weeks of declines in new cases. Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have reported declines for two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.


May 13

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Six people tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. One more person has died of COVID-19. The total infected rate now stands at 3,984 while 102 people have died of the virus.

Since the start of Phase 2 on Monday, there has been no immediate surge in virus transmission numbers, though infected people typically develop symptoms several days after exposure and contraction.

Acting school director and lower school principal of the International School of Luxembourg, Patricia Angoy discussed with Delano students return to school Monday. “I think they’re a bit like deer in the headlights. I hope as they see their teachers it will get easier for them” said Angoy.

Testing of elderly care home residents and staff revealed asymptomatic carriers, giving tailwind to government plans to test large swathes of the population in the weeks to come.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel visited Maison Moderne, publisher of Delano and Paperjam, for a live interview with editorial development director, Nathalie Reuter, to discuss the COVID-19 crisis in Luxembourg. He confirmed the Government of Luxembourg is working to adjust economic measures for various sectors. He also reiterated that, “going back to confinement is still possible.”

Luxair saw profits fall by more than a third last year and warned that 2020“forecasts are not optimistic for the company due to the coronavirus crisis,” Luxair said Tuesday. Luxair announced on their website that flights are expected to resume on 1 June, 2020.

Ryanair plans to resume almost 1,000 flights a day starting in July and institute temperature checks, require masks and prohibit queuing for toilets to reduce the chances of spreading the COVID-19.

Luxembourg has employed nearly 1,500 people as part of the national health reserve using essential health professionals without permanent roles as well as medical students from the LTPS secondary school.

On 1 June, a Chief Nursing Officer will be appointed as a joint effort between the Ministry and National Association of Nurses in Luxembourg ANTIL, to represent nurses within politics.

U.S. and Worldwide:

California’s state university system, the largest in the U.S., canceled classes on Tuesday for the fall semester because of COVID-19, while Los Angeles County said its stay-at-home order was likely to be extended by three months.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is keeping his distance from President Donald Trump for a few days in the wake of his press secretary testing positive for the coronavirus, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Tuesday.

Spain plans to restrict arrivals from Europe’s Schengen zone and will impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on all travelers to avoid importing new virus cases.

Wuhan plans to conduct COVID-19 tests on the Chinese city’s entire population after new cases emerged for the first time in weeks in the cradle of the global pandemic, state media reported Tuesday.


May 12

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Two new individuals tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday with no new deaths since Saturday.

Twenty proposals were adjusted for implementation in the second deconfinement phase on Monday during a COVID-19 cabinet meeting.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch held a virtual Q & A on his party’s Facebook page to discuss children returning to school.  He explained daycare centers will not be able to accommodate primary school students before 8am.  Beginning 25 May, elementary students will be required to go to school every other week from 8am to 1pm.

More than 26 million masks will be distributed across the country this week to Luxembourg residents.

According to reports, Germany is not planning to extend its border checks beyond May 15th.

The President of the Commercial Union of Luxembourg City, Guill Kaempff said no new businesses have filed for bankruptcy in Luxembourg City to date.  However, due to the lockdown, retail turnover was down 12.7% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

Mamer is planning to open a drive-in cinema on Thursday, to remain open until August 2.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the global COVID-19 pandemic began, on Monday reported its first cluster of new infections since a strict quarantine was relaxed in early April.

According to the New York Times and Washington Post, the U.S. is publicly warning against China’s alleged attempts to “unlawfully obtain valuable material covered by intellectual property and public health data on COVID vaccines, treatments and screening tests.”

The White House on Monday directed all people entering the West Wing to wear masks after two aides tested positive for the coronavirus, administration officials said.

A senior U.S. health official set to testify on Tuesday before the U.S. Senate will warn against the risks of reopening the economy too soon, saying it could lead to “needless suffering and death”, the New York Times said.

Even without spectators in the seats, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned in an interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King that NFL games could be the “perfect setup for spreading” coronavirus.


May 11

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

There were no COVID-19 related deaths this weekend in Luxembourg and nine more people tested positive for the virus. The number of confirmed cases stands at 3,886 and the death count at 101.

Starting today, smaller shops, hair salons, and automobile showrooms are allowed to reopen. In addition, driving schools are allowed to reopen with both instructor and student wearing masks.

In a press conference Friday, Sports Minister Minister Dan Kersh outlined the measures for some sports restarting on May 11.  Outdoor sports are permitted provided there is no physical contact, opposing teams, or spectators. However, the decision to reopen private clubs is at the discretion of the owners of individual facilities. The sportslycee will resume sports activities on 18 May.

Additional measures for the new phase starting 11 May 2020 include:

  • Museums, exhibition centers, archives, and libraries will reopen
  • Gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed
  • People are allowed to welcome up to 6 people into their homes who do not reside there
  • 12 mask distribution sites have been set up for cross-border workers
  • High schools will resume classes
  • Unnecessary travel to neighboring countries is stillnot permitted
  • Working from home remains recommended for the coming weeks

As Luxembourg moves to the next stage of the deconfinement process, the Government has not ruled out a return to lockdown measures as needed.  A spokesperson said if the number of infections begins to rise, putting pressure on hospital capacity, Luxembourg would reevaluate.

Sports Minister Kersh dismissed suspicions China was hiding something during the Wuhan Military Games last October after some athletes got sick while there. Kersh himself was present at the games.

Former Prime Minster of Luxembourg and former president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, told RTL Radio the current government is managing the COVID-19 crisis well. The veteran politician applauded Minister of Health Paulette Lenert for her tireless efforts and praised Prime Minister Xavier Bettel for his handling of the unprecedented crisis. He also commented the closure of borders and the notion that open borders caused the spread of the virus is “absolutely ridiculous.”

17 new petitions are available on the Parliament website. All the petitions are related to the COVID-19 pandemic except one which opposes the installation of 5G and has gathered thousands of signatures.

Germany made an exception for Mother’s Day and opened its borders on Sunday. The Federal Police have said border closures violations have been extremely difficult to combat. In response to the turmoil at the closure of the German-Luxembourg border, the German Ambassador to Luxembourg Heinrich Kreft says “my heart is bleeding when I see the European flag at half-mast.”

The Grand Duke and Minster of the Interior Tania Bofferding visited the CGDIS center in Mersch last Friday.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The COVID-19 crisis has “destroyed” an estimated 20.5 million jobs in the U.S. economy with the unemployment rate at the highest levels since the 1930s.

The White House has begun informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about what to include in another round of COVID-19 relief legislation, officials said on Sunday, while predicting further U.S. jobs losses in the coming months.

With COVID-19 exposure arriving in the West Wing, the White House is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of the president and his staff after two administration aides tested positive for the COVID-19.

Federal health regulators in the U.S. are developing guidelines for reopening nursing homes, proposing steps that would allow visitors to return to facilities that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic despite lockdowns.

New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner isn’t performing widespread postmortem COVID-19 tests on people who have died at home during the new coronavirus outbreak because of a national shortage of testing supplies, city officials say.


May 7

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Luxembourg reported two more deaths on Wednesday bringing the total number of deaths to 98 since the outbreak started. Eleven more people tested positive for the virus bringing the total to 3,581 confirmed cases. 1,234 tests were carried out between Tuesday and Wednesday.

DPM Francios Bausch will be on RTL Radio Thursday morning to discuss police preparations for the next deconfinement measures starting 11 May, the status and progress of construction sites from the last 2 weeks, and visions of a sustainable environmental and economic recovery.

According to the Ministry of Health, only 40% of high school seniors who returned to school on Monday got tested for COVID-19.

The Parliamentary Commission for Education came together Wednesday to discuss the gradual reopening of schools. All political parties agreed in Parliament that schools have to reopen before the summer holidaysHuge challenges still await education staff and communities as elementary schools prepare to reopen on 25 May.

The International School of Luxembourg is preparing to reopen its upper school next Monday with stringent controls to limit contact between students. These include:

  • Splitting the student body into two alternating groups,
  • Parents will take students temperature each morning before school and schools will check when they arrive to ensure it does not exceed 37.5⁰C
  • One-way traffic system in corridors and hallways
  • Students must wear face coverings
  • Break times will be staggered
  • Outdoor games involving close contact will be discouraged
  • Cafeteria will be closed

50 additional masks will be distributed to citizens over the age of 16 starting May 25th. According to France’s largest private TV operator, TF1, Luxembourg is a “Champion of Masks” in Europe. Taiwan has donated ten million surgical masks to its diplomatic allies including U.S. and Luxembourg, which received 200,000 masks according to Foreign Minister Asselborn.

The Government of Luxembourg has agreed to further financial assistance for Independent Workers in the form of a non-refundable one-time aid package of €3,00 to €4,000.

A special repatriation flight from Cape Verde landed in Luxembourg airport Tuesday with 170 passengers on board including 75 Luxembourg nationals on board.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will be featured in Paperjam’s next live chat scheduled for Tuesday 12 May at 11am.

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Trump says that the COVID-19 crisis is worse than 9/11 and Pearl Harbor attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated his contested charge the COVID-19 pandemic likely originated in a Chinese laboratory, but acknowledged there was no certainty. Pompeo renewed his call for global pressure on China to provide more data on the origins of the illness, which has killed more than 250,000 people worldwide and hobbled the global economy.

Trump said on Wednesday his COVID-19 task force would shift its primary focus to reviving U.S. business and social life, while acknowledging that reopening the economy could put more lives at risk.

Several U.S. senators have urged congressional leaders to accept the White House’s offer of rapid COVID-19 testing for lawmakers, saying they could otherwise unwittingly spread the disease when they returned to their home districts.

Uber announced Wednesday that it is cutting 14% of its workforce as fewer people take rides in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zoom, a popular video conferencing application, has significant security flaws.


May 5

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

There were four new cases of COVID-19 in Luxembourg as of Monday and no new deaths were reported.

In a press conference Monday, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel outlined new safety measures and re-openings that would start 11 May in Luxembourg.  These measures include:

  • Hair salons and beauty salons will be open, but customers will only be accepted by appointment
  • Citizens will be allowed to invite 6 guests into their homes in addition to the residents of the home
  • Small social gatherings outdoors are authorized, up to 20 people
  • Outdoor, non-contact sports are permitted

Bettel stated an additional 50 face masks will be distributed to residents aged 16 and over and includes cross-border commuters. At the same conference, Health Minister Paulette Leneret stressed that the crisis is far from being over and the government will continue to test and monitor aggressively. The Government will meet again on Wednesday to discuss further details of the reopening including restaurants, which will wait until at least 1 June to reopen.

96% of students attended class on the first day back to school yesterday, roughly the same average rate during a normal school year.

99% of medical consultations were still held over the phone by physicians after hospitals and general practitioners reopened yesterday.

The Grand Ducal couple visited the Luxembourg Institute of Health.

All parties praised Foreign Minister Asselborn’s engagement to keep Schengen borders open after he informed the relevant parliamentary committee about the situation at Luxembourg’s borders. In protest against border controls, Mayors from the Moselle region lowered European flags to half-mast.

An RTL.lu article stating elderly people residing in care homes will be back under strict guidelines was altered and sent around to say individuals will be allowed to meet friends and acquaintances from 4 May onward. This information is incorrect. The Government has not given the green light for this to happen, and authorities are trying to track down the source of the fake news.

BioneXt Lab announced on Monday the launch of CoVive, a smartphone application for customers to monitor their health during the pandemic. The application requires no account creation and claims not to track users.

Luxembourg’s long-awaited tramline is facing delays because of setbacks linked to the COVID-19 crisis, according to the head of Luxtram, which will ultimately connect the airport and the Cloche d’Or business center.

After the hacking DDOS attack last Wednesday, all Cactus stores will be open by Tuesday.

U.S. and Worldwide:

After U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “enormous evidence” showed the virus originated in a lab in China, China’s state broadcaster CCTV on Monday attacked Pompeo’s “insane and evasive remarks” over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, further fueling Sino-U.S. tensions.

Celebrities, world leaders, and philanthropists pledged approximately 7.4 billion euros ($8.1 billion) on Monday for research into COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and testing during an EU-led videoconference that was snubbed by the United States.

The U.S. Senate convened in Washington for the first time in nearly six weeks on Monday, despite concern it might put lawmakers and staff at risk of contracting the COVID-19, but made clear it could take weeks to pass any new relief legislation.

A new forecast projects nearly 135,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. through the beginning of August mainly due to reopening measures under way, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington said on Monday.

A top executive at United Airlines is telling employees to consider leaving the company voluntarily as it grapples with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia registered a near record in new daily COVID-19 cases on Monday as total infections topped 145,000, cementing its position as the European country reporting the most new cases. Information from Russia is becoming as scarce and contradictory as it was during the Soviet Union.


May 4

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Luxembourg carried out 3,223 tests for COVID-19 over the weekend12 new people tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday bring the total number of cases to 3,824. Four more patients died bringing the total number of victims to 96. There are 349 active cases of COVID-19 virus in Luxembourg.

Senior-year students return to classrooms today despite consternation from teachers, parents, and students alike. Teachers’ unions say it makes no sense to ask final year pupils to attend classes, given final exams this year will only test that what was taught before the lockdown. The Luxembourg Student Confederation (CNEL) expressed concerns regarding transportation, separate classes, and end of year exams. The groups also encouraged students of all grades to refrain from complying with attendance as schools reopen, and participate in distance learning instead.

RTL notes 9 important things for Senior students and parents to know today:

  • Parents can drive their children to school
  • Public transportation will resume regular schedules (except trains)
  • Masks are mandatory
  • Disinfectant will be available
  • Students will be separated into 2 groups
  • Classes will resume for 2 weeks
  • Cafeterias will stay closed
  • Students will be able to retake a maximum of three tests for three different classes during the week of 18 May 2020
  • Exams will still take place, except for Lycee Vauban and European Schools

PM Bettel and Minister of Health Lenert visited AMC Rockhal and Emile-Mayrisch Hospital in Esch-Alzette Friday to praise the staff.

Luxembourg’s homeless received free facemasks, just like all households across the country, after the government made it mandatory to wear mouth and nose protection in public places. Ten homeless people tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in quarantine at The Red Cross.

Questions about sanitation measures arose after 21 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kirchberg refugee emergency shelter.

The OGBL Workers Union celebrated Labor Day 1 May, but stressed an exit strategy without union input is unacceptable.

The Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts has called for their sector to be fully reopened on 11 May stating that “the number of people infected has not increased massively” so Luxembourg’s “deconfinement should be widened in ‘phase 2’ starting on 11 May” to include all the activities of artisans. In an interview with 100.7, the Chairman of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Congress, Luc Frieden, called for a reopening of shops as soon as next week in a bid to save the economy.

Three Cactus grocery stores face closure as a result of cyber hacking. The National Education and Research IT server was also a target of a DDOS attack Thursday at 1 p.m.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Secretary Pompeo said Sunday there was little doubt the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. “There is enormous evidence that this is where it began,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The White House stated Dr. Anthony Fauci will not be allowed to testify before Congress.

U.S. foreign aid programs have long been the world standard, but friends and foes alike are seizing opportunities of their own to assert global power by assisting countries ravaged by COVID-19.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, President Trump remains proud of his accomplishments.

According to Der Spiegel, NATO is preparing a military emergency operational plan in preparation for the next wave of COVID-19. Thought pandemics have been neglected as a security risk so far, NATO’s report is expected to be ready by June’s Foreign Ministerial meeting.

A massive wave of COVID-19 infections is blasting through the world’s largest prison population in the United States, even as States begin opening up their economies claiming the disease has plateaued.

Surfers, sunbathers, and swimmers took to the famous Huntington Beach this weekend despite California Governor Gavin Newsom ordering the total closure of all beaches in Orange County.

During Microsoft’s Q3 2020 earnings call on 29 April,CEO Satya Nadella dropped some impressive numbers with respect to the company’s own workplace communication app Teams. Just six weeks after reaching 44 million daily active users in late March, Microsoft Teams is now beingused by more than 75 million people each day.

Facebook reported its first quarter earnings on Wednesday saying although advertising revenue was up 17% year over year, “we experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks of the first quarter of 2020.”

Rolls Royce is considering up to 8,000 layoffs due to the collapse in air traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted that company’s stock share was over-valued, prompting an immediate 10% drop in the stock value.


April 30

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

On Wednesday, 28 new people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed cases to 3,769. There were no reported new virus-related deaths.

 

RTL, RTL Today, and Chronicle.lu covered Ambassador Evans’ visit to the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg with Government of Luxembourg and NATO officials to thank health care workers and see the field hospital set up by employees of the WSA warehouse in Sanem with supplies from NATO NSPA and Ramstein AFB.  Articles feature the Ambassador’s quote: “The frontline health care workers here at the Centre Hospitalier and health care facilities worldwide are shining examples of human compassion and strength, and I join all Luxembourgers in my sincere gratitude for their tireless efforts” and pictures provided by the Embassy.

 

Minister of Health Paulette and AMMD head Dr. Alain Schmit held a press briefing about the reopening of medical practices next week. Important developments included:

  • Medical practices can reopen Monday 4 May if strict guidelines are respected including: GPS, specialized doctors, dentists, veterinarians, psychotherapists, nurses, physiotherapists, masseurs, podiatrists, rehabilitors, occupational therapists, osteopaths, dieticians, and midwives.
  • Patients must make appointments in advance
  • Tele-consultations are recommended
  • Patients are encouraged to come to appointments alone
  • Patients will be given a mask and screened for COVID-19 before entering the waiting room
  • Advanced care centers will remain open for COVID-19 patients only with opening times adjusted

Lenert stressed these measures could be revoked if infections increase.

 

The Transportation Ministry yesterday outlined changes to public transportation in May. All passengers must wear face coverings and avoid necessary contact with drivers and other passengers. Changes as of Monday, 4 May include:

  • The RGTR bus system will return to its regular schedule
  • Luxtram will run Monday to Saturday every 10 to 15 minutes and on Sunday every 15 to 20 minutes
  • School transport for high school students will be provided
  • Adapto transport services will resume regular service 7 days a week

As of Monday, 11 May:

  • National railway CFL will run at least 2 trains per hour on all lines. Additional increases will start 25 May
  • Tice will increase service on key lines during the week and resume normal Sunday hours. Transport service for high school students will resume. Nightbus will remain suspended

 

As a guest on RTL TV evening news, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said he was optimistic despite the anticipated recession and that Luxembourg was well positioned to tackle the crisis compared to other countries. Gramegna compared Luxembourg’s independent estimates on recession which are between 6-12% to European recession estimates. He noted the GOL is already accounting for a GDP rebound of 7% for 2021, but that unemployment could climb to 7.2%.

 

Voluntary COVID-19 testing is available for high school students at 3 different locations throughout the country: Bascharage, Marnach and Junglinster. When students return Monday, cafeterias and other food services including vending machines will be closed. Restopolis has set up a new service where every student and teacher can order a personalized lunch box online.

During Wednesday’s Government Cabinet meeting, a set of new measures were put in place for companies, outlining those which knowingly provide false information to obtain partial unemployment allowances or use state money for anything other than wages must return it immediately. The group also recalculated emergency aid directed to independent workers.

 

Luxembourg’s royal court has appointed Yuriko Backes marechal to the court, Lord Chamberlain, starting 1 June. Backes, the first female lord chamberlain, previously served as head of the European Commission’s representative office in Luxembourg since 1 September 2016, prior to which she was diplomatic advisor to Jean-Claude Juncker when he was Luxembourg prime minister in 2010.

 

Luxembourg is working to draft a legal framework for contact tracing apps in the event other countries make their use compulsory for people wishing to cross their borders. Prime Minister Bettel prefers manual tracing, but recognized that view may not shared by all governments. The tracing unit of the Health Ministry will hire hundreds of new employees to begin analog tracing for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in order to document up to 240 new cases a day.

 

U.S. and Worldwide:

Gilead Science’s remdesivir, a drug for Ebola and one of the most highly anticipated drugs being tested against the new COVID-19, showed positive results in a large-scale U.S. government trial, the company said Wednesday.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday criticized South Africa and Qatar for accepting doctors from Cuba to battle the COVID-19, accusing the communist island of profiting from the pandemic.

 

Boeing confirmed Wednesday that it will cut its overall work by approximately 10%.

 

Facebook has reported stable advertising revenues having attracted more users during the COVID-19 crisis -over 3 billion people worldwide are currently accessing at least one of Facebook’s applications.

A German company working with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun human trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine that could supply millions by the end of the year, according to the two firms.

The governor of Florida, among the last to lock down his state against the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak, announced on Wednesday he would permit a limited economic reopening next week while leaving restraints intact for the dense greater-Miami area.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is likely to announce on Thursday the closure of the state’s beaches and parks after crowds jammed beaches last weekend, according to a memo cited by local media, amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.


April 29

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Health Minister Paulette Lenert and Research and Education Minister Claude Meisch spoke at a COVID-19 press conference yesterday. Key developments from the press conference include:

  • Anyone in Luxembourg who wants to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to in the coming weeks
  • 17 testing stations will be set up across the country
  • 6,000 senior year high school students and 2,500 teachers will be able to be tested the week of 4 May when classes resume
  • Preliminary results of the ‘CON-Vince’ study should be released at the end of this week
  • The Government would issue guidance on when non-emergency medical professionals can reopen their practices -announced to be May 4th.

Luxembourg has set aside €40 million in order to test the entire population for COVID-19.

RTL outlines everything you need to know as schools plan to resume in part on 4 May. Representatives of Acen, Agess, Apess, Cnel, Féduse, SEW and Unel say students in their final year should get to decide what to do next week. They have called upon Minister of Education Claude Meisch to give students the choice whether they should return to school before their final exams.

The Ministry of State released the names of the 125 members of the COVID-19 task force yesterday after political pressures from opposition parties.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel spoke to RTL TV’s evening news last night about the country’s exit strategy and possible next steps of deconfinement measures, which could start May 11 and include the opening of small shops and businesses and sports activities. Bettel was cautious and refused to confirm any of the measures until after looking at data from Phase 1. He also discussed nationwide testing on a voluntary bases starting 19 May and the nation’s economic measures.

Minister of Family Affairs Corinne Cahen held a press conference yesterday. She outlined that Luxembourg has eased the rules on visiting care homes for the first time in seven weeks for fear over the mental health of the elderly. Family members over the age of 15 are now allowed to visit relatives in a designated room, wearing masks, and keeping two-meter distance.

On 26 and 27 April, Deputy Prime Minister Francois Bausch visited the Luxair Cargocenter and CFL railway multimodal platform of Bettembourg-Dudelange. The ‘air bridge’ connecting Luxembourg with China has allowed Cargolux to deliver 768 tons of medical equipment. The multimodal CFL and Eurohub South logistics park provided the storage and transport of approximately 2,000 pallets of medical equipment. Bausch said “We must be proud and reassured that we have a logistics hub of this magnitude in Luxembourg.”

Workers unions at Luxair Cargo Center demand a complete rethinking of cargo freight management focused on a long term outlook and sustainable hiring of staff. This comes as a response to tensions that arose after the Cargo Center lacked necessary staff to handle incoming flights, which resulted in many cargo companies ending operations to the center and diverting flights to other European airports. In an effort to improve the center’s efficiency, the Government of Luxembourg intervened and prioritized the transport of medical supplies. In addition, outside logistics groups such as CFL Cargo, the port of Mertert, and the WSA brought in 140 temporary employees to the center.

According to the CSSF, Luxembourg’s financial regulator, total assets in Luxembourg-domiciled investment funds fell by 2.5%, from €4.8trn at the end of January 2020 to €4.7trn at the end of February 2020. The Luxembourg banking industry saw a drop of 6.4% in gross income in 2019 from a year earlier, largely on the back of lower capital gains realized on securities portfolios, and lower dividends.

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Trump said Tuesday he is considering ordering COVID-19 tests for people arriving in the United States on international flights, highlighting Brazil.

The U.S. has reported more than a million COVID-19 infections only because of its testing, Trump said on Wednesday.

Trump on Tuesday told meat-processing plants to stay open to protect the food supply in the United States, despite concerns about coronavirus outbreaks, drawing a backlash from unions that said at-risk workers required more protection.

The arthritis drug tocilizumab has shown early promise in preventing extreme inflammation in gravely ill COVID-19 patients, according to a French clinical study which has yet to be peer-reviewed.

The U.S. Federal Reserve opened its two-day policy meeting amid tentative signs COVID-19 lockdowns can be lifted, citing evidence of economic pain.

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air said Tuesday it plans to restart flights from Vienna to 20 destinations over the coming weeks, with the first services running from Friday. Icelandic airline Icelandair said Tuesday it would lay off about 2,000 of its staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact air travel “for the foreseeable future.” British Airways is set to slash up to 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan as the carrier grapples with the fallout of the pandemic, its parent company IAG said Tuesday.


April 28

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Six people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the smallest daily increase this month. The total number of cases stands at 3,729.  No new deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

6,000 pupils and 1,500 teachers will return to school on 4 May. Pupils and teachers will be able to be tested for COVID-19 before they return. There are still many unanswered questions about students with special needs and the staffing and organization of day care infrastructures for kindergarten and elementary children. Luxembourg’s teaching unions are calling for school attendance to be optional and a delayed reopening amid fears that schools and staff will be overwhelmed and health will be put at risk.

The Government of Luxembourg spent €7.35 million to purchase 9,800 antibody tests to conduct the Con-Vince study. The authorities want to use these tests to better assess the spread of COVID-19, but the analysis methods remain controversial.

Luxembourg’s government and parliament are debating how to share power in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, as the country’s state of emergency is set to expire in June, nullifying existing crisis measures not codified by lawmakers. The current state of emergency allows the government to push through measures without parliamentary approval.

Scientists at the Luxembourg private laboratory group, BioneXt Lab, says it could provide antibody tests for people if doctors prescribed them. These tests will help to determine whether some people have developed immunity to COVID-19.

RTL interviewed the general director of Robert Schuman hospitals, Dr. Claude Schummer, on the state of Luxembourg hospitals. Schummer stated the situation at Kirchberg hospital is stable.  He noted all patients at the hospital were between 38 and 94 years old and 50 COVID patients are currently hospitalized, with 10 in intensive care.

More than 90,000 people in Luxembourg, approximately 14.5% of the population, is over 65 and thus belongs to the highest risk group for COVID-19.

The 9th edition of the Luxembourg Film Awards has been postponed until 2021.

Leaders around the EU are calling to divert state aid away from tax havens, but this is unlikely to affect Luxembourg, despite frequent criticism Luxembourg is a place where companies pay far lower taxes than elsewhere in the EU.

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Trump foresees a spectacular economic rebound.

Georgia, at the vanguard of states testing the safety of reopening the U.S. economy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, permitted restaurant dining for the first time in a month on Monday while governors in regions with fewer cases also eased restrictions.

JetBlue Airways Corp on Monday became the first major U.S. airline to impose a face covering on customers during travel, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, says current technology makes it impossible to test every American for coronavirus. The United States, she says, will need a “breakthrough” in testing to screen large numbers of people.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, for the first time, has directly accused Russia and China of spreading disinformation in the COVID-19 crisis. Official statements by both countries have stated NATO countries do not support each other, are unable to deal with the crisis, and do not protect their older populations.

Boeing CEO said on Monday that world air traffic will not return to pre-pandemic level for two to three years after the company lost 60% of its stock value since the beginning of the year.

American Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has called for the end of corporate pharmaceutical companies’ dominance.


April 27

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Twelve new people tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday bringing the total to 3,723 in Luxembourg. Three individuals died, bringing the death toll to 88.

According to a Government of Luxembourg statement, the Government has approved implementation of a “large scale” COVID-19 PCR testing program once the lockdown is lifted. Current low COVID-19 infection rates allow for tracing, Health Minister Lenert has asserted.

First pandemic simulations:  Researchers have calculated how many infections, intensive care patients, and deaths are expected if the lock-down is lifted or maintained. Results show a quick return to normalcy would cost a lot of lives.

Due to the current pandemic, the Prime Minister will not give his usual state-of-the-nation address in May and has postponed it until August.

The 2020 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders was released and it showed a clear correlation between a country’s position on the index and their level of media suppression during the COVID-19 pandemicPrime Minister Bettel reacted to criticism by the Council and journalist Association ALJP over the GOL’s “sovereign” flow of information since the COVID-19 crisis.

According to information obtained by RTL, an aircraft from China carrying 8 million facemasks landed at Findel Airport this weekend. Officials expect another two deliveries of medical equipment to arrive in Luxembourg this week. Between mid-March and mid-April, Cargolux alone supplied 770 tons of medical material to Luxembourg, almost three pounds per inhabitant.

According to a Facebook post by Education Minister Meisch’s, teachers and students can undergo voluntary COVID-19 testing before returning to school.

The Teachers’ Union expressed concerns about the safety of going back to school at the end of May, and hopes economic considerations will not be put ahead of health risks.  Despite the fact it remains open for signatures until June, a petition requesting schools remain closed until September has already gathered well over the 5,500 signatures needed to push the issue to debate in Parliament.

The Mental Health COVID-19-psy.lu website is now available in three languages: French, German, and English.

Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmès, outlined the country’s three-stage COVID-19 deconfinement strategy on Friday evening. Travelers entering Luxembourg from Belgium have experience stricter checks as a result of both countries slowly emerging from lockdown. Around 4,000 vehicles have been stopped at the border.

The German-Luxembourg border is now open to people taking care of minor children, individuals visiting vulnerable family members, and couples living separately on either side of the border.

Luxair Group General Manager Adrien Ney will retire at the end of May, the company said, leaving Luxembourg’s national carrier in need to replace its key leader amid a severe global downturn for the airline industry.

U.S. and Worldwide:
Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday and take charge of the UK’s handling of the pandemic, a month after he was struck down by COVID-19.

Catching COVID-19 once may not protect you from getting it again, according to the World Health Organization, a finding that could jeopardize efforts to allow people to return to work after recovering from the virus.

Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee are planning to reopen despite a lack of systematic screening for infected people who may be contagious, but asymptomatic.

Hospitals in New York are giving COVID-19 patients famotidine, an active ingredient in the heartburn medication Pepcid, to see if it helps fight the virus.

The U.S. has seen more than 54,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19 representing more than a quarter of all deaths worldwide.


April 24

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Eleven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday, bringing the total to 3,665. Three new deaths occurred bringing the total to 83 people who have died from COVID-19. Luxembourg has tested roughly 5.9% of its population.

In an exclusive front page interview set up by PAS Luxembourg in the Luxemburger Wort, Warehouse Service Agency General Manager Laurent Bodson recounts in details the emergency call he received from DPM François Bausch the evening of March 24 when he was asked for his help in keeping the vital airport cargo center operational by providing his staff experienced in logistics handling.  Seeking permission from the USAF headquarters/hierarchy, Bodson recalls the “GO FOR IT” answer the exact same night from U.S. officials, and two days later, 36 WSA staff were working on site. The article ends with a quote from Ambassador Evans: “We find ourselves together in this sanitary crisis and we must pull together/on the same string.”

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert visited the Kirchberg hospital Thursday. They met with medical staff who spend each day on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Medical staff and the administrative board of the hospital took the politicians and the press on a guided tour of the hospital.

On Thursday, DPM Francois Bausch told the Parliamentary Commission on Internal Security that the Government of Luxembourg is discussing a pandemic bill to avoid a long-term state of emergency which only has strict limitations. Bausch stated “This is a state in which the government does not want to be. We do not see the rule of law of a democratic state.”

Following the 4th EU Summit teleconference, Prime Minister Bettel said that cooperation in Europe is critical to relaunch the EU economy in an interview with RTL. Bettel also reiterated that “social distancing does not mean national distancing” in relation to Schengen borders.

Since 16 March, Digital Inclusion has provided more than 100 computers to pupils around the country via home delivery to ensure they can take classes remotely. The requirement for this service is having a supporting document issued by the office of social services or the organization itself.

The Facebook group Luxembourg Expats COVID community raised over €450 to donate meals to care workers at hospitals around the country via Grosbusch.

More than €37 million in Luxembourg aid is being redirected to help developing countries manage the outbreak of the coronavirus and shore up medical infrastructure.

U.S. and Worldwide:

U.S. COVID-19 deaths topped 49,000 on Thursday as the number of lives lost in April rises by an average of 2,000 a day.

The United States House of Representatives on Thursday gave resounding approval to a $484 billion COVID-19 relief package to restart a depleted loan program for distressed small businesses and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing, and moved to increase oversight of the sprawling federal response to the pandemic. President Trump said he was “grateful” for the action to refill the loan program and indicated he would sign the measure.

A preliminary survey of New York state residents found that nearly 14% of those tested had antibodies against the novel COVID-19, suggesting that some 2.7 million may already have been infected, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

German airline giant Lufthansa said the group was in “intensive negotiations with the governments of its home countries… to sustainably secure the group’s solvency”, as it reported a 1.2-billion-euro operating loss in the first quarter.

An American WWII veteran died from COVID-19.  His twin brother died right after birth from the Spanish flu in 1919.

Worldwide, there were 1,110 new deaths from COVID-19 yesterday.


April 23

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

An additional 36 people have tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday bringing the total to 3.654. Two more individuals have died as a result bringing the total to 80 people. The five-day average daily growth has slowed now to around 1%.

The number of patients at the country’s four COVID-19 regional advanced centers is declining, but the infrastructure is expected to remain in place for a possible “second wave” of infections.

The cabinet has approved administrative regulations that will increase COVID-19 lockdown aid to microenterprises, small businesses, and craftspeople. The ministry said application forms would be available on the Myguichet government portal starting on Friday.

Investors rushed to get their share of a €2.5 billion sovereign bond Luxembourg issued on Wednesday to finance the growing burden of supporting its economy, hit by COVID-19 pandemic. This is a historic first as it has negative interest rates.

The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce surveyed 2,600 businesses from 8-15 April. They found that businesses have been “very hard hit” by health crisis mitigation measures, are “rapidly running out of cash” and current government aid is “not sufficient” for a large number of businesses. The survey revealed that nearly three quarters of food-related businesses would run into liquidity problems by 1 May.

Although there was confusion, authorities have announced testing for COVID-19 patients in nursing homes will begin over the next few weeks.

Parent and Student Associations continue to ask: How do schools return without any health hazards?

As construction workers returned to sites Monday, engineers are plotting the top projects to tackle before traffic reappears, including the Adolphe Bridge. The Luxembourg Consumer Association (ULC) stated that they had received multiple requests for compensation to cover health security measures since construction sites reopened earlier this week ranging from €700 to €30,000. The ULC discourages customers from paying additional costs to construction companies invoiced for these safety measures.

Chief medical officer Dr. Jean Claude Schmitt told RTL that in Luxembourg, Hydroxychloroquine only becomes a treatment option if patients experience complications or if they are part of high-risk groups.

According to the managing office of the health department, there have been a high number of trips to and from Portugal in recent weeks. Although these should not drastically affect the national fight against the spread of COVID-19, the government appeals to the public not to leave the country.

Luxembourg’s top athletes will be able to resume training at the national sports center Coque on May 4th.

Science.lu published a Q&A fact check about contact tracing apps and data protection.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The World Health Organization on Wednesday warned the COVID-19 crisis will not end any time soon, with many countries only in the early stages of the fight, as the global death toll surpassed 180,000. Figures show the current situation in Western Europe is much better than in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Central and Latin America.

More states in the U.S. South and Midwest signaled readiness on Wednesday to reopen their economies in hopes the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had passed, but California’s governor held firm to sweeping stay-at-home orders and business closures.

Trump signed his anticipated executive order barring some immigration to the United States on Wednesday evening, nearly 48 hours after announcing the move on Twitter.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he is sensitive to concerns about rising federal debt but emphasized that low interest rates and the urgency of helping the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak cut in the other direction. “This is a war, and we need to win this war and we need to spend what it takes to win the war,” he said Wednesday morning on Fox Business. 

Tissue samples from a woman in San Jose, California who passed away on 6 February have tested positive for COVID-19 showing that COVID-19 was circulating in the California Bay Area as early as January. 

The Trump administration’s plans to reopen the country’s national parks and other public lands in line with COVID-19 guidelines, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, with more details to be announced on specific parks in coming days.


April 22

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

On Tuesday, there were 60 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 3,618 people. Three people succumbed to the virus bringing the total number of deaths to 78. Although 30 people remain in intensive care treatment on Tuesday, the number of new COVID-19 infections continues at a slower pace than previous weeks.

RTL featured Ambassador Evans’ daily tweets in an article noting their message of support for citizens of Luxembourg.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert visited the country’s field hospital set up next to CHL (thanks to NATO, Cargolux and Felix Giorgetti) which is now operational.  Bettel stated, “Containment is not just about patient numbers or economic data. Containment is also about suicides, depression, domestic violence, rape and assault. It’s important to consider all of these aspects when taking action. Governing is not reacting, it is anticipating.”

Grand Duke Henri visited the Ministry of Health’s Logistics and Crisis Management Center with Prime Minster Bettel and Health Minister Lenert yesterday.

The Association of Luxembourg Towns and Municipalities (Syvicol) participated in a video conference with representatives of the Ministry of Education in order to tackle the issues concerning the reopening of schools. The meeting revealed two important factors which require solutions – the availability of staff, and the availability of buildings. Baccalaureate exams have been cancelled at European schools, the Vauban French high school, as well as ISL

As part of the economic stabilization program, the government will guarantee bank loans granted to businesses worth up to 2.5 billion euros.  Seven banks participated in the agreement alongside Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna: BCEE, BIL, BGL BNP Paribas, Banque de Luxembourg, Raiffeisen, ING and Bank of China.

As the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections decreases, doctors at CHL hospital want to gradually start refocusing on non-COVID-19 patients. After a constructive meeting on Tuesday between Health Minister Lenert and the Association of Doctors and Dentists (AMMD), a decision will be made by the end of the week as to when doctors can reopen their practices.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, said he was opposed to tracing the population via an app that would track all citizens coming into contact with a person infected by Covid-19, because it would raise too many questions in terms of data protection.

The City of Luxembourg announced the cancellation of at least 32 events scheduled between April and 31 July 2020.

Many Western European nations are struggling to get help to harvest their fruits and vegetables and are flying in workers from Eastern Europe.  According to Agriculture Minister Romain Schneider, Luxembourg will not need such a measure because enough volunteers have signed up to harvest in Luxembourg and restaurant demands have dropped, resulting in less work.

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his new U.S. immigration ban would last 60 days and apply to those seeking ‘green cards’ for permanent residency in an effort to protect Americans seeking to regain jobs lost because of the COVID-19.

The UN called for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

The WHO stated indications show COVID-19 likely did not originate in a laboratory.

As governments around the world scrambled to get protective equipment for medical workers in March, the EU announced its own procurement program.  Although Britain left the EU on 31 January, it was still entitled to participate, but chose not to take part.

Reporters Without Borders are concerned about the freedom of the press during the pandemic, especially in China and Iran.

Netflix added a stunning 16 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic led people to stay at home and binge on hit docuseries, such as “Tiger King,” and reality shows like “Love is Blind.”

Missouri is suing the Chinese government and other top institutions for the role they played in the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it has had on the state, accusing the country of covering up information, silencing whistleblowers and doing little to stop the spread of the disease, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Tuesday.


April 21

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert visited the NATO NSPA military field hospital set up at CHL hospital, which Bettel praised in a Facebook post yesterday.

Two more people died Monday from COVID-19 in Luxembourg. The death toll now stands at 75. There were 8 new positive tests for the virus bringing the total on Monday to 3,558 people.

National airline carrier Luxair has pushed back the date when it will resume flights to 30 May, it announced in a statement on Monday. This includes LuxAir Tours as well.

Face masks were quickly becoming the new normal this week as queues formed outside DIY stores and diggers rolled again at construction sites across the country. Municipalities have until Friday to distribute 5 masks per person. The CGDIS distributed 3.5 million masks to all 102 municipalities.

The Archdiocese confirmed yesterday that there will be no religious celebrations in churches until at least 10 May and no communions, weddings and christenings  until September.

Luxembourg has begun testing care home residents and staff for COVID-19 in an effort to protection the country’s most-vulnerable residents. Luxembourg’s national laboratory will help homes that care for the elderly test up to 6,000 residents and 4,000 staff members as part of a coordinated testing campaign, authorities said Monday.

The Parent Student Associated stated that school attendance should not be economically or politically motivated, but be based on science and safety. They determined that the decision to send students back to school on 11 May is too early and parents should be entitled to decide if children under the age of six should return to school.

Researchers are looking for 1,500 people to represent the adult population of Luxembourg in the CON-VINCE study that is expected to reveal more information about the actual extent of the spread of COVID-19 among the population of Luxembourg.

Both the number of resident jobseekers and Luxembourg’s unemployment rate rose significantly last month as the country faced the COVID-19 lockdown. 18,398 people are looking for work. This is an increase of 17.4% from March 2019. These job seekers are mainly in the fields of construction and restaurant staff.

The first case of COVID-19 occurred at Luxembourg’s penitentiary center in Schrassig. The detainee tested positive only 9 hours after incarceration and thus, has not been in contact with any other prisoners.

The Luxembourg City Council of Aldermen have pledged €2 million to support local businesses.

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Trump tweeted that he will “put immigration into the U.S. on ice” in an effort to fight COVID-19 and protect American workers.

A report from the Washington Post revealed that the U.S. Government received ongoing information on the COVID-19 situation in China from its own experts in the World Health Organization (WHO).

NASA has joined forces with a task force in Antelope Valley, in northern Los Angeles County, California, to build medical devices to help patients with COVID-19.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the Chinese Government to be as transparent as possible concerning the genesis of COVID-19. Merkel also calls for caution as COVID-19 measures are relaxed worldwide to avoid a second wave of infections.

The EU Commission has mobilized €3.4 trillion to fight COVID-19.

France on Monday announced it had unfortunately become the fourth country worldwide to register over 20,000 deaths from the COVID-19, after recording 547 new fatalities in the epidemic.


April 20

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Thirteen more people have tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total to 3,550 as of Sunday. One more person has died, making the total 73.

Today makes the first day of the first phase of the exit strategy for specific economic sectors, but the general “stay at home” measure remains the rule. Construction sites, including the tram, garden centers and recycling centers open their doors under new social distancing rules.

Luxembourg public schools will start to reopen in a phased approach from 4 May after a nationwide closure on 16 March. Additional strict measures outlined are:

  • Compulsory wearing of mouth protection within the school structure, but optional in the classroom
  • Disinfectant will be made available in schools
  • Students will stay in groups to avoid any mixing
  • Sports classes will be suspended
  • Canteens will be closed
  • Special measures will be taken to moving around in common areas
  • Unnecessary gatherings will be avoided
  • Vulnerable staff and students will not return to school

A petition launched three days ago directed at the Minister of Education Claude Meisch demanding that all schools remain closed until September 2020 has already accumulated almost 11,000 signatures. A rumor is currently circulating that children in the first cycle of fundamental education, aged 3-5 years old, will not return to school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The Ministry of Education swiftly denied the rumor, explaining they were currently working on a plan for reopening fundamental and primary school for all pupils. In an interview with Luxembourger Wort, Minister Meisch compared the current situation to a science fiction novel.

As the Government moves to slowly reopen the countries, Friday’s numbers confirmed that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing as the five-day daily average growth is now 1.2%.

Effective today, failure to wear “mouth protection” in a shop or on public transport may result in up to a €145 fine, the interior security minister said on Friday. The Luxembourg Army distributed masks to the construction sector over the weekend at Findel airport and military barracks in Diekirch. The Luxembourg postal services are handling national mask distribution to all residences.

In a weekend session, Luxembourg’s parliament adopted new measures to support the economy from the devastating blow of COVID-19 including passing a bill allowing the state to guarantee bank loans to help businesses get much-needed cash injections totaling over €2.5 billion. Economy Minister Franz Fayot announced new additional financial aid for small businesses. Six Luxembourg banks have agreed on a moratorium on loans which were granted to Luxembourg companies before 18 March, 2020.

Luxembourg MEP Marc Angel warns that no one should be fooled by Chinese propaganda and should focus on EU solidary actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Center for Contemporary and Digital History of the University of Luxembourg launched collaborative website to document the shared experience of the health crisis for future generations.

The Neurologist’s Association and Patient’s Association called upon the population to continue to consult doctors and hospitals despite the COVID-19 lockdown.

The City of Luxembourg is discussing alternatives for hosting the Schuerberfouer 2020, scheduled for the end of August, an over 600 year old traditional carnival fair.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The European Center for Disease Control confirmed Sunday that there are over one million COVID-19 cases in Europe.

The WHO says majority of countries around the world do not have appropriate pandemic plans.

Trump’s administration clashed with state governors Sunday over lifting COVID-19 lockdowns, in a standoff embittered by his support for protests against the restrictions. These protests were further fueled by Trump threatening China with consequences for causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Move over, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Fauci, the straight talking COVID-19 point man, is the new feisty super senior in Washington captivating American hearts.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday that a recent drop in hospitalizations and other improving metrics indicated the state may be past the peak of its COVID-19 crisis and on a path toward stabilizing its battered healthcare system.

Democratic leaders and the Trump administration were close to a deal Sunday to replenish a popular program to help small businesses weather COVID-19 shutdowns, the latest step in sweeping government efforts to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.


April 17

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

There were 71 new confirmed cases on Thursday bringing the total to 3,444 in Luxembourg. The death toll was revised down to a total of 68 victims. The number of hospitalizations has started to rise again. The mortality rate in Luxembourg is about 2% of confirmed cases which is far lower than Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and France.

Education Minister Claude Meisch held a press conference Thursday to discuss the reopening of schools. Major developments from that briefing include:

  • Schools will gradually be reopening 4 May with students in their final year of secondary school returning first
  • All other high schoolers will resume classes on 11 May
  • Classes will each be divided into two groups that will alternate weekly attendance in school
  • Students at home every other week will continue to do school work
  • They will keep siblings on the same at school/at home weekly schedule to help families organize their lives
  • Cafeterias will stay closed- pupils will get bagged lunches
  • Breaks will be staggered throughout the day to avoid crowds
  • Some material will be scrapped from the curriculum
  • No sports classes will resume this year
  • Students must wear face masks to school and home from school, they have the option to remove them during school hours
  • Compromised students, teachers and staff will not return to school

 

Citizens will all be required to wear masks in public including drivers, employees, and riders on public transportation. Luxembourg’s decision for local administrations to hand out face masks to residents to rein in the spread of the COVID-19, comes just a day after the government criticized communes for doing precisely that without notifying them. The goal of the plan is to distribute 5 masks per citizen as a starter pack by Monday, but this provides logistical difficulties. Companies that are allowed to work again on Monday will receive five masks per employee. The Luxembourg Army will distribute masks to construction companies in the Findel airport parking lot this Friday.

Luxembourg’s National Day celebrations (June 22-23) will be a quiet occasion this year as festivals, cultural and sporting events will not resume until at least 31 July. Meanwhile, the first ‘deconfinement’ phase will begin Monday, when people will be obliged to wear masks or alternative mouth coverings when they cannot keep the required safe distance from others not in their own household. Construction sites and hardware shops open again for business on April 20th. However, health officials warn people to remain cautious and stick to a harsh regime that has largely locked them in their homes for almost five weeks.

The trade unions this week worked on a Grand Ducal decree that defines the rules and regulations that have to be respected on construction sites, which are set to reopen next week. Employers will have an obligation to guarantee the best possible protection of their workforce. The new decree will presumably receive the green light during a state council meeting on Friday.

Den Atelier, a large concert venue, have announced that they will close their doors completely until the end of July, cancelling 43 concerts in the process.

The University of Luxembourg will begin  offering students the chance to study medicine from September to help with the shortage of doctors in the Grand Duchy. This is a long-term project that comes to fruition at a good time. For the first time they also will begin to offer bachelor’s degrees in engineering, mathematics, and physics.

With the health crisis, the Luxembourg population has turned to the media for information. Media sources have enjoyed record audiences even as advertisers are retreating.

 

U.S. and Worldwide:

President Donald Trump on Thursday shared guidelines for a gradual reopening of the United States after the battering of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying normal life should resume quickly in some states. His plan has three phases, but no set timeline.

5.2 million new unemployment benefit claims were registered last week in the U.S., a new historic high for the fourth week in a row.

The travel company Uber announced billions in depreciation due to the COVID-19 crisis and withdraws its annual forecast.

The United States has not ruled out that the COVID-19 virus came from a Chinese laboratory, and has started an investigation to shed light on this issue. The Chinese government also revised the number of deaths in Wuhan from COVID-19 increasing by 50%.

The Group of 20 leading economies agreed to provide temporary debt relief to the world’s poorest countries in an effort to free up resources for those beleaguered nations to fight the COVID-19.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Thursday on families and global leaders to “protect our children,” who stand to suffer severe consequences of the pandemic even if they are at lower risk.

Britain on Thursday extended its lockdown to tackle the COVID-19 for “at least the next three weeks”, as it remains among the countries worst-hit by the pandemic with hundreds dying daily from the disease.

 


April 16

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

Two more people died from COVID-19 in Luxembourg yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths to 69. There were 66 new cases bringing the total number to 3,373 people who have COVID-19 in Luxembourg.

Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert held a press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss phase 1 of their exit strategy process which will begin Monday.  Both urged people to continue current social distancing measures. All large public events have been cancelled at least through July 31st.

On Monday 20 April the following will happen:

  • Construction sites and all associated business activities will reopen
  • Home improvement shops will be allowed to reopen
  • Gardeners, landscapers, and plant shops will be allowed to reopen
  • Recycling centers will gradually reopen
  • Residents must wear masks or alternative mouth coverings, at penalty of fine, when entering a place where they may come within two meters of another person not from their household

Claude Meisch will hold a press conference Thursday to discuss the gradual reopening of education centers, but Bettel did announce that higher education and the final year of high school will return on 4 May.  Phase 2 will begin on 11 May with the gradual reopening of secondary schools and the consideration for restaurant and shops.  Phase 3, beginning on 25 May, will allow primary schools, creches, and after school clubs to reopen.

Luxembourg’s main opposition party CSV in a press release urged the coalition government to include the public distribution of face masks in their phased exit plan. Starting next week, the Ministry of the Interior and the National Association of Municipalities, SYVICOL, will distribute masks kits to the entire population.

Following a meeting with representatives from the OGBL and LCGB unions, business associations including the UEL, the federation of crafts, and the construction industry, and the government, Employment Minister Dan Kersch said in a press conference that Luxembourg will impose binding regulations that employers and employees will be required to fulfill upon returning to work.  Kersch expects the working group to have a presentation to the cabinet on these measures by Friday.

Luxembourg Air Rescue ran 3 more missions Wednesday to repatriate French COVID-19 patients from Austria and Germany back to the Grand Est region of France.

Minister of Economy Franz Fayot congratulated the banking sector on Twitter for granting €2 billion in loans to businesses that had to cease all commercial activities.

Germany has extended its border control with Luxembourg, France, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland for 20 more days to 4 May.

Chinese and South Korean expat volunteers are helping procure medical equipment for Luxembourg.

The University of Luxembourg paid tribute to former lecturer Michel Parisse who died of COVID-19 at the age of 83 on 5 April.

Digital communications agency Vanksen, which has offices in Luxembourg, has developed a free app to safely manage queue-ups in large shopping sites such as grocery stores.

Shares in cloud software groups have proven to be more resilient than the overall market in the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

 

U.S. and Worldwide:

The World Health Organization voiced “regret” Wednesday at President Trump’s suspension of funding for the UN agency over suspicions that it had mismanaged the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The WHO responded by saying they sounded the alarm via tweet on January 4th.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen plans to hold an online donor conference on 4 May to raise funds for COVID-19 research and a vaccine development.

On Wednesday, U.S. bank Citigroup announced a net profit drop of 46.5%, $2.5 billion, in the first quarter of 2020. The group set aside $7 billion in provisions to cover the possibility of customers defaulting on payments due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Google plans to distribute worldwide emergency aid to local media struggling as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. No amount was specified.

 

British and European Union officials on Wednesday agreed to schedule three new rounds of post-Brexit trade talks, starting next week, after the COVID-19 epidemic disrupted their negotiating timetable.


April 15

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Fifteen additional people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Luxembourg making the total number of infections 3,307. As of late Tuesday, 67 people have died.

The first details of a implementation of the phased exit plan will be made public today.  according to RTL, construction sites may be among the first re-openings.  There will be a cabinet meeting today to discuss the plan, after which Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert will hold a live press conference.

Four scanners to detect the deadly COVID-19 faster and more safely will be available in Luxembourg from Wednesday. The scanners have been installed in each of the four hospitals in the country and can detect the virus within seconds, compared to a traditional blood test which takes up to 20 minutes. The machine can scan around 40 patients per day.

Labor Minister Dan Kersch stated on Tuesday Luxembourg has spent around €372 million on short-term unemployment benefits since the country when into a state of emergency four weeks ago. The government approved short-term unemployment for nearly 10,000 businesses, covering includes over 180,000 people, while it rejected 370 applications for businesses in the banking and insurance sector. The Chairman of Luxembourg’s attorney association called DPM Kersch’s system “unacceptable” on Facebook because wealthy lawyers cannot receive aid under the plan.

The Con-vince study launched 8 April will monitor a sample of 1,500 people to obtain accurate data on the COVID-19 epidemic. Professor Rejko Kruger of the Luxembourg Institute of Health discussed with Delano the protocol followed and the information that this study will provide.

The London-based Deep Knowledge Group has published a ranking of countries’ safety levels and management of the COVID-19 crisis. Israel tops the list of countries worldwide. Germany ranks second. Luxembourg can be found in the top quarter of the list, and rounds out the top ten in Europe.

To support restaurants in delivery and take out services and to help keep their customers informed, RTL, Eldoradio, IP Luxembourg and the Horesca federation joined to create the restohome.lu site.

Starting Wednesday April 15, Luxembourg’s largest independent publishing group, Maison Moderne, and restaurant and caterer chain Cocottes are joining forces to deliver free meals to the staff of the country’s four advanced care centers.

The Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with Luxinnovation and their partners, Technoport, House of Startups, LHOFT and Luxembourg City Incubator, have decided to launch a call for projects ‘StartupsVsCovid19’. Start-ups will be able to pitch their projects between 20th and 30th April.

 

U.S. and Worldwide:

The U.S. announced it will stop funding to the World Health Organization and will investigate the role the WHO played in the pandemic for the next 2 to 3 months.

The COVID-19 pandemic is reaching rural American with new hotspots from South Dakota to Georgia.

EU Commission President von der Leyen and EU Council President Michel plan to make a joint declaration today about a concerted common exit strategy for Europe.

The International Monetary Fund predicted the “Great Lockdown” recession would be the steepest in almost a century and warned the world economy’s contraction and recovery would be worse than anticipated if the COVID-19 lingers or returns.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that airline revue will drop by 55% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


April 14

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 make the total in Luxembourg 3,292. Three more Luxembourg residents died from COVID-19 bringing the total fatalities to 69 as of Monday.

A fake screen shot of the RTL update page is circulating the internet showing that schools with remain closed until 2021.

Minister of Health Paulette Lenert was cautiously optimistic on Friday while still appealing to everyone to continue to strictly adhere to the confinement restrictions.

Eschdorf priest Marco Wehles came up with the idea of getting residents to submit their creative offerings, including paintings and crafts, to decorate the pews in replace of people for the traditional Easter Sunday mass. Archbishop Jean Claude Hollerich held religious services via video streaming.

The Government of Luxembourg published a synoptic summary of the economic stabilization measures put in place since 25 March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victor Batista Falla, uncle of the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, died Sunday of COVID-19 in Havana.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the extension of lockdown measures until 11 May on Monday. He thanked Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria for taking French patients into their hospitals.

For the past month, six Amazon Luxembourg employees, and nearly twice as many in the company’s other offices, have provided logistical supply help to the Hospital Robert Schuman finding masks, protective suits, and gloves.

The University of Luxembourg will remain closed until the next academic year.

After shutting down on 19 March, Tire maker Goodyear is reopening part of its Luxembourg operation Tuesday.

U.S. and Worldwide:

New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, declared Monday that the “worst is over” for its COVID-19 outbreak providing the state moves sensibly, despite reporting its death toll had passed 10,000.

The U.S. COVID-19 epidemic appears to be hitting its peak, but scientists are already warning a second wave is possible if President Donald Trump and others move too fast in easing the nationwide lockdown.

Donald Trump said Monday that the main oil-exporting countries are forecasting a drop in production twice as large as OPEC announced. Trump tweeted “”If we get close to this and global business picks up after the COVID-19 disaster, the energy sector will shine again, much faster than expected.”

The American Federal Reserve has launched a faster, broader intervention plan for the COVID-19 crisis compared to the financial crisis of 2008 in an effort to avoid an economic disaster in the U.S.

The British government warned Monday it would not be lifting a nationwide lockdown anytime soon as the country remains in the grip of a COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed more than 11,000 lives. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from the hospital over the weekend.


April 9

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Luxembourg reported 64 new known infections of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total to 3,034. Two individuals passed away bringing the total to 46. The median age of the fatalities remains 86 years old. The hospitals have discharged 354 people as of Wednesday. Hospital discharges are on the rise despite CHL Director Romain Nati expecting peak occurring at the end of this week or beginning of next week.

The new scanner, delivered to the Hospitaux Robert Schuman on Saturday, can confirm the presence of COVID-19 in just a few minutes. It is expected to be operational this week.

President Fernand Etgen confirmed that the Chamber of Deputies will not take an Easter vacation and it will remain fully operational.

The Government of Luxembourg explained in a press release that there are different kinds of masks for different usages. The public is now encouraged to wear “alternative” masks to prevent the virus from spreading further. Medical masks are primarily reserved for medical staff. RTL interviewed Dr. Marc Diederich on the importance of facemasks.

The Luxembourg Health Ministry posted information on their Facebook about #Disinformation on social media networks: “Do not take medications without consulting your doctor and trust only established sources of information: – Ministry of Health: https://gd.lu/c9sMKn – WHO: https://gd.lu/14W9vj – UE Council: https://gd.lu/4Cswrz – European Commission: https://gd.lu/9dQgj3

Luxembourg has earmarked €30 million for research and development and investment projects that will develop products to combat the COVID-19 health crisis. Luxembourg researches will recruit 1,500 people for a study aimed to start next Wednesday to look at how broadly the COVID-19 has spread across the country, why some patients show few symptoms, and estimate how many have recovered and have disease immunity.

In a rare initiative, the Grand Duke expressed his profound gratitude to workers during a phone conversation with the OGBL workers union President Nora Black. The Palace announced last week that the Grand Duke is contacting organizations, and associations to show his support.

In a Parliamentary question concerning the COVID-19 crisis, Minister of Economy Franz Fayot laid out figures about economic relations between Luxembourg and China confirming an additional €30 million package to support the production of medical and sanitary products. 

The Minister for the Middle class announced €2,500 of direct financial aid for independent freelance workers. Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna says that national tax reform is still in discussions despite the COVID-19 crisis.

Luxembourg’s financial regulator, CSSF, is warning against sending money to or doing business with three online entities they do not regulate: bourse-electricite.com, www.qfprivate.com, and www.akwealth-spf.com.

In a press conference, virologist Hendrik Streeck, explained that, “There is no significant risk of catching the disease when you go shopping.” He concludes that “to actually get the virus it would be necessary that someone coughs into their hand, immediately touches a door knob and then straight after that another person grasps the handle and goes on to touches their face.”

The Luxembourg Archdiocese will live stream Easter services. There will be no RGTR busses, ram, or Adapto services on Easter Monday.

16,000 visitors have participated in the University of Luxembourg’s virtual Open House since 21 March. Live chats with faculty will remain available until 10 April.

U.S. and Worldwide:

The World Health Organization on Wednesday pleaded for global unity in fighting the COVID-19.

Almost 2000 died over COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in the U.S. The country reports a total of over 400.000 infections and 13.000 dead.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared in a White House briefing yesterday that the State Department has repatriated 50,000 stranded by lockdowns in countries abroad since 29 January. 

U.S. Democratic congressional leaders presented an additional plan totaling over $500 billion to help small and medium businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The #HopeFromHome livestream on Youtube brought together entertainers, influencers, gamers, and other creators from platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to raise almost $659,000 for three global charities. 

Bernie Sanders has ended his U.S. Presidential bid, clearing the way for Joe Biden to win the Democratic nomination.


April 8

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Three more people have died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. An additional 127 people have tested positive for COVID-19 making the new total 2,970. The average growth rate is well below that of last week.

Some seriously ill COVID-19 patients in Luxembourg are being treated with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-viral drug, as part of a new international research study.

The hospital in Esch-sur-Alzette, has transformed its cafeteria into a ward allowing it to take in more COVID-19 patients. The new ward has 28 beds spread across 600 square meters.

Luxembourg is poised to launch a study to see how many people are likely immune to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health plans to announce details of the blood testing program to determine immunity soon.

The Ministry of State said the government is working on a making a gradual loosening of the current lock-down measures possible. This gradual lift depends on a number of key criteria such as the future spreading of the virus, the number of infections, and the capacities of Luxembourg’s healthcare system. Immunity tests will eventually also play a role.

Minister of Education Claude Meish says he is “not sure if schools will reopen on May 4th.”

Luxembourg Air Rescue evacuated five more COVID-19 patients from the Grand Est region of France to other hospitals over the weekend.

A Caritas Corona-Helpline has been launched to help those who, in the current situation, are experiencing difficulties paying for groceries, bills, rent and debts. Tel: 40 21 31 – 999 Email: helpline@caritas.lu

After a call between Foreign Minister Asselborn and Greek Migration Minister Koumoutsakos, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that 12 minor refugees will arrive in Luxembourg next week.

Luxinnovation is inventorying businesses that could shift activities to produce medical and sanitary equipment. They have identified a total of 95 companies. U.S. Company AirTech CEO Carl Christiaens confirmed that the company has produced over 700 protective medical blouses last week. Steelmaker ArcelorMittal has teamed up with Spanish researchers and health professionals to use 3D printing to produce respiratory ventilators.

Luxair announced that it wants to resume flights on 4 May and LuxairTours is aiming to resume flights on 16 May.

A group of university students have launched a Facebook page to offer pupils tutoring for their final exams. So far, 600 students have joined the free group with around 50 pupils taking advantage of the tutoring.

University of Luxembourg’s information days will take place in 2 virtual visits because of the COVID-19 pandemic

Luxembourg’s annual agricultural fair in Ettelbruck has been cancelled.

 

U.S. and Worldwide:

Johns Hopkins University totaled over 80,000 COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that he thinks the country will be in “good shape” for reopening schools by the start of next school year in the fall.

COVID-19 is disproportionately killing African Americans in several parts of the U.S.

The airline industry is calling for a global set of COVID-19-related health measures for when travel resumes to avoid the chaos that ensued after 9/11 when countries all enacted different requirements.

Air quality is better than ever worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lufthansa confirmed a definite end of all activities for its sister company, GermanWings.

Pandas in Hong Kong used the lock-down privacy to mate after decades of trying.


April 7

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Five people died of COVID-19 in Luxembourg on Monday and 39 more people tested positive. A total of 41 people have died and 2,843 people have contracted COVID-19. The average daily growth rate over the past five days stands at 5.2% which is down from 12.3% a week ago, hinting at a slowdown.

Health Minister Paulette Lenert stressed that the fight against COVID-19 is “a real marathon and it isn’t finished yet.” The peak is expected to arrive by April 15.

The Government is actively working on a plan to make the gradual loosening of the current lockdown measures possible, but according to a government spokesperson, this depends on a number of key criteria such as the future spreading of the virus, the number of infections, the capacities of Luxembourg’s healthcare system, and availability and viability of immunity tests.

Luxembourg has disbursed €20 million in loans to businesses under the state scheme passed in parliament last week to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Luxembourg Government has approved applications from more than 5,000 companies representing more than 73,000 employees for a short time work scheme because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The short-time work scheme lets companies reduce the number of hours employees work each week and the government will make up 80% of the shortfall in earnings.

The Government plans to cover 100% of investments from companies converting their products to COVID-19 protection products. Tyvek production is at full steam at the DuPont plan in Contern. Tyvek is used for medical blouses.

With Luxembourg’s plan to transfer 11 child refugees from a Greek Island camp to Luxembourg hampered because of COVID-19 measures in Greece, Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn stressed in a videoconference Monday that the transfer “should be carried out under conditions that guarantee maximum health security.”

Police recorded a total of 180 violations of the social distancing measures over the weekend.

The Foundation de Luxembourg, Luxembourg’s philanthropic foundation, established the COVID-19 Foundation. To date, €160,000 have been committed to projects to combat the pandemic.

The medical appointment booking site Doctena has added tools that allow physicians to create the most commonly required follow-up documentation during video consultations including sick notes, referrals, and prescriptions.

A group of young entrepreneurs founded nala.lu, a platform that gives local shops and businesses an ability to sell and deliver their products and services online and giving them more visibility in sectors often dominated by large corporations.

U.S. and Worldwide:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last month and Monday, he was admitted to an intensive care unit after his condition worsened. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is serving as his deputy.

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, is advocating for a global solution for a COVID-19 vaccine, focusing on the parallel development of different vaccines in order to save time.

Italy has started anti-body testing for COVID-19.

Large U.S. banks have until Monday to inform the Federal Reserve how they intend to allocate their cash in the coming months as required by the post-crisis banking regulations known as CCAR.

Apple plans to start producing a million face masks per week.

Wisconsin courts turned down a surprise, last minute proposal from Governor Tony Evers to postpone primaries to June 9.

COVID-19 containment measures are different across the 50 states.


April 6

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

As of 1 April, Luxembourg had the highest proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases per million population and has since 19 March. This could be explained by Luxembourg’s relatively high rate of testing.

Over the weekend, there were 5 more COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total to 36 and 192 new infections for a total of 2,804. As of Sunday, 233 patients were in hospital, with 33 in intensive care. 241 patients have already been released from the hospital. The spread of COVID-19 appears to be slowing as the country began its fourth week of lockdown.

After three weeks of national lockdown, the Luxembourg Government has started describing how the social distancing will eventually end. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said at a press conference late Friday that the return to normalcy will come little by little. He also stated that he is opposed to tracing the circulation of the virus through mobile phones.

On Sunday, Health Minister Paulette Lenert stated that even if the extent of the initial pandemic was underestimated, Luxembourg is now well positioned in the fight. She noted that the peak of hospitalization is expected for mid-April.

Under the state of emergency, the Government of Luxembourg has validated nine new Grand-Ducal regulations including the ability for essential businesses to refuse or cancel leave already granted.

During a TV interview, Pierre Gramegna (DP) said that Luxembourg supported the idea of issuing collective European bonds, but stressed that other plans are equally important.

Research Luxembourg has launched a national COVID-19 platform to coordinate research projects and collaborations, which fast-track funding expected to follow. The Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation have launched a “Startups vs. COVID-19” competition for young, innovative enterprises that are working on innovative technology focused on limiting or overcoming the economic, health, or social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 20 projects can win financial support of up to €150,000. Head of FNR and IVLP alumni, March Schiltz confirmed that there was a million-euro investment in research.

The Hospital Schuman has contracted a local company to sew medical protective blouses with Dupont de Nemours out of TYVEK material.

The Luxembourg Institute for Health has published cartoons to explain COVID-19 to children.

Luxembourg has not disinfected streets and public spaces like China or South Korea. However, according to virologist Emmanuel Andre, this is not necessary because people carry and transmit the disease and the virus can only temporarily in an external environment.

The beaches around the Haute-Sure lake in the north of Luxembourg are closed.

The French Air Force flew Grand Est patients to Toulouse out of Findel Airport.

U.S. and Worldwide:

Bill Lapschies, a 104-year-old WWII veteran from Oregon has survived COVID-19 just in time for his birthday.

In a rare, special televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II thanked healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, promising that a united effort would help defeat the disease.

President Trump has expressed hope that COVID-19 cases were “levelling off” in U.S. hotspots and he saw a “light at the end of the tunnel.” On Sunday, New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak reported a drop in the number of new infections and deaths.

Secretary General Stoltenberg stated that NATO aims to enhance coordination in the fight against COVID-19 by expanding and accelerating the military support of the NATO countries.

A four year old female Malayan tiger has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo.

Tesla engineers have designed a prototype ventilator that uses parts adapted from their electric vehicles.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said his foundation will spend billions of dollars to fund the construction of factories for the most promising efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus.


April 3

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

An additional 168 infections were reported Thursday bringing the total number of infections to 2,487One more person has died of from COVID-19 bringing the death toll to 30 individuals in Luxembourg. Luxembourg has already performed 20,000 tests.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch announced new measures to support learners, parents, and teachers during the extended confinement period at a press conference on April 2, 2020.

  • School and creche closures have been pushed until May 4, 2020.
  • All learners will have the opportunity to complete their school year and move up to the next year in September 2020.
  • E-learning support service is offered through a helpline 8002 9090.
  • Additional resources will be allocated to schools when classes have resumed.

A new CT scanner has been installed in the Ettelbruck hospital designed for patients with COVID-19. The Ettelbruck advanced disease center sees over 330 patients a day.

Siemens Healthineers, a laboratory based in Luxembourg, has developed a new COVID-19 test that shows results in 3 hours. Fast Track Diagnostics, based in Belval, is also developing similar tests.

The Luxembourg Police published an online extensive Q&A discussing what is and is not allowed during the COVID-19 lockdown. The police issued another warning of an online phishing fraud where people received emails or SMS notifications regarding a fake package pick up. In addition, a falsified document with the Ministry of Finance header was published outlining the Government of Luxembourg’s plan to introduce a “solidarity tax” to deal with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.

Geoportal and Editus have created an interactive map for foodies detailing restaurants around Luxembourg currently providing delivery and take out services.

U.S.:

The U.S. Government plans to cover the cost of COVID-19 treatment for the millions of Americans without health insurance.

Speaking at a White House briefing, Deborah Birx, a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would in the coming days add a recommendation on masks to guidelines on protective measures.

San Francisco is working to secure 4,500 rooms for the nearly 10,000 people who live on the streets or in shelter and need to self-quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Grand Canyon National Park announced an immediate closure in accordance with recommendations from the Chief Health Officer in Coconino County, Arizona.

Over 1 million people are infected with COVID-19 worldwide.

The UN Climate Summit was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The global research community is focusing on perfecting antibody tests, known as serologic testing, that are believed to be the key to ending the total lockdown caused by COVID-19.


April 2

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 

Luxembourg:

There were 141 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with a new total of 2,319. 6 more patients have died, bringing the total to 29 deaths. The Ministry of Health confirmed that the first COVID-19 patient left the ICU in Luxembourg.

Schools will be closed until 4 May, an additional two weeks later than previously planned. Minister of Education Claude Meisch will present specific information on the move at a press conference Thursday at 2pm.

Four more French patients will be transferred to Luxembourg from the Grand Est region. Luxembourg Air Rescue has flown 11 COVID-19 missions out of or into France so far.

The health center in Esch received its new scanner, but due to lack of space inside the facility, it will be stored in outside containers. Doctors say that the four advanced medical centers established last week are not useful for patients with non-COVID-19 related symptoms. The care centers are divided into two separate departments: one for COVID-19-related patients, and the other for non-COVID-19 related patients. Doctors say the current structure is not useful, as the section for non-COVID-19 related patients is mostly empty.

A new hotline now offers psychological support in Luxembourg in various languages. The service is available seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.

Two additional Cargolux flights delivered medical supplies to Luxembourg from China yesterday. The Henan Provinces announced another “gift” delivery.

Minister of Economy Franz Fayot announced myguichet.lu, a new online tool where businesses can submit request for partial unemployment and receive an advance on salaries.

Banks in Luxembourg are faced with an unprecedented number of requests to delay loan repayments after the government announced a support scheme last week for businesses hardest hit by the crisis. The House of Entrepreneurship has made a short film in English that details the ways companies can obtain up to €500,000 in emergency loans.

On Wednesday, the Luxembourg financial supervisor, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), instructed banks to refrain from paying out dividends to shareholders as they need to maintain liquidity and be able to credit customers.

The Government of Luxembourg has extended restrictions on road worthiness tests to 26 April. The Automobile Club of Luxembourg is asking for a six-month deadline extension to allow service providers to catch up with the backlog.

U.S.:

China has concealed the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it has suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.

New types of tests are emerging to help rapidly diagnose COVID-19. The new tests come in two varieties. One tests for antigens, substances that induce an immune response in nose and throat samples. The second tests for antibodies, which are a patient’s body produces in response to the viral attack and should tell if people have already beaten COVID-19.

The U.S. Navy is evacuating thousands of sailors from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam after its captain warned a COVID-19 outbreak was threatening the lives of the crew.

The U.S. is looking into revising its recommendations on public use of face masks, following the example set by some Asian countries that have been more successful in fighting COVID-19.

Americans have purchased masks from China originally purchased by France to go to the Grand Est region.

The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament has been cancelled for the first time since World War II.


March 31

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

One more person died in Luxembourg from COVID-19 on Monday. The total number of cases increased by 38 bringing the total number of cases to 1,988. Luxembourg has carried out 16,199 tests in total.

The first field hospital at the CHL was declared fully operational on Monday evening. The NATO team that constructed this temporary treatment center for COVID-19 patients in Luxembourg City left Luxembourg yesterday. Defense Minister Francois Bausch and Health Minister Paulette Lenert were there to see them off.

The President of the Luxembourg Federation of Hospitals, Paul Junck, said he is confident in the capacity of the hospital sector to absorb the wave of COVID-19 patients.

Minister of Education Claude Meisch announced that Luxembourg will decide by the end of this week if pupils will return to school next month or if closures will extend beyond 20 April.

Luxembourg has sharpened the safety measures for healthcare workers after it was determined that nearly half of all deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Luxembourg happened in elder care homes.

The Luxembourg Parliament may hold plenary sessions of Parliament at the Cercle Cité in order to respect and maintain the necessary distances between MPs. Head of the CSV Martine Hansen came under major scrutiny and a social media “shit-storm” after the CSV demanded last week that ministers personally attend Chamber commissions.

The use of blood tests to determine who is or is not immune to COVID-19 in Luxembourg, Belgium, and France could inform a new strategy of “deconfinement” and accelerate the revival of the economy.

The Luxembourg Grand Ducal Police conducted 150 checks this past weekend mainly focusing on social distancing measures. The Luxembourg Trade Inspectorate performed 408 control checks in the past two weeks of grocery stores, gas stations, butcher shops, and bakers to verify that safety and health precautions are being followed.

U.S.:

COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are being fast tracked with scientists using information on similar viruses such as SARS and MERS to advance science at a rate never seen before in such a short period.

On Monday, Johnson & Johnson announced that it had selected a lead candidate vaccine for the new coronavirus that would move to human trials by September and could be ready for emergency use by early next year.

President Donald Trump on Friday ordered General Motors to manufacture critical care ventilators as the United States grapples with the mounting number of coronavirus cases.

The United Nations called for an evacuation of all refugee camps in Greece.

Good spirits on Wall Street boosted almost all European markets Monday.

Amazon warehouse employees and Instacart delivery workers joined protests Monday in Staten Island, New York, to press safety demands, highlighting the risks for workers on the front lines of supplying Americans largely sheltering at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers in the U.S. and China reported Monday they have developed an artificial intelligence tool that is able to accurately predict which newly infected patients with COVID-19 go on to develop severe lung disease.


March 30

 Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 Luxembourg:

Luxembourg media broadly reported on the USAF and WSA aid dispatched at hospital facilities and airport cargo center last week. Nearly every media outlet featured Ambassador Evans’ quote from Friday’s Media Advisory:

In an official statement, the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg confirmed that the U.S. Air Force is helping the Grand Duchy combat COVID-19 by providing several generators and cooling systems to be used in the temporary hospitals set up. Ambassador Randy Evans stated, “n We are in this public health crisis together and must all pull together to help each other.

Tageblatt reported on delivery of equipment from “the U.S. Air Force’s war reserve material stored in Sanem” and 36 employees from the central warehouse WSA in Sanem being released to relieve Cargolux of handling cargo at Findel Airport.

Luxemburger Wort in French: Luxembourg gets assistance of its American ally.

Luxemburger Wort in German: US Air Force supports Luxembourg in fight against COVID-19.

GOL Official statements highlight Minister Bausch’s visit to Cargolux and the “exemplary and necessary cooperation between all the actors including the Army, Cargolux, CFL, Luxair Group, Luxport, Luxairport, and the WSA.”

Three more people have died of the COVID-19  in Luxembourg and 345 additional people have contracted COVID-19 according to Government data on Sunday. The overall death toll is 21 and total people infected is 1,950 – up from 1,831 on Saturday.

Luxembourg is ranked number 1 in the world for number of tests per capita, with around 14,000 tests carried out to date.

In a background discussion with RTL radio last Saturday, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna reaffirmed the good state of public finances despite the crisis linked to the COVID-19. “We have the most fine-tuned plan in Europe,” Gramegna said while reiterating there was no need to panic. However, he did indicate that the economic consequences were going to be “substantial”.

The first COVID-19 scanner, out of four announced by the GOL last week, is ready for use at the Centre Hospitalier du Nord. The others are will be fully operational over the course of the week.

In response to school closures, a new parental leave form will be available online starting Monday. Partial unemployment within households will now be taken into account if an employee’s period of parental leave is extended.

Housing Minister Henri Kox said via press release he is working to qualify more tenants and property owners for aid as household incomes drop significantly due to the current crisis.

The German state of Saarland has urged Berlin to allow cross-border workers that cross into Luxembourg each day to telework without having to worry about paying double taxes during the COVID-19 crisis.

U.S.:

Global COVID-19 cases stand at 685,623, with 32,137 deaths and 145,706 recoveries. You can find more detailed statistics here.

President Trump has extended emergency COVID-19 restrictions for the United States after previously saying he wanted the country back to work in mid-April.

A senior U.S. scientist warned that up to 200,000 Americans could die from the new disease, as President Trump was forced to back down on plans to put New York State in quarantine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the limited emergency use of two antimalarial drugs to treat COVID-19 patients.

Google plans to provide advertising credits worth more than $800 million to healthcare institutions and SMEs so they can continue to deliver information to citizens and consumers

Bill DeBlasio, Mayor of New York City, sends alarming message that medical equipment is growing scarce.


March 27

 Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

 Luxembourg:

Luxembourg reported its ninth coronavirus-linked death on Thursday, with another 120 new cases confirmed bringing the total up to 1,453. There were no details on the deceased, although, Health minister Paulette Lenert had said during a press conference on Wednesday that so far only elderly patients had died.

Luxembourg’s teleconsulting platform, eConsult that allows patients to seek medical advice remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, has gone live. The eConsult website allows patients to select a doctor and get a diagnosis, either by audio or video link, on whether their symptoms are likely to require further treatment or medication, a home visit from a physician, or ask the patient to attend one of Luxembourg’s advanced medical centers.

A Luxair flight brought back 171 Europeans from Cape Verde Wednesday who found themselves stranded on the island. 171 passengers of two dozen nationalities were on board including 52 Luxembourgish nationals.

Luxembourg’s landlords’ advocacy group has told its members to continue to collect rent during the coronavirus lockdown. In contrast, the City Concorde shopping center waived its rent for stores for April.

In response to the Luxembourg’s Red Cross first call for blood donations, 130 people donated blood on the day of the call. An additional 100 donated this past week and more than 1,200 people registered for appointments as of Thursday, which is almost the annual average of the new registrations.

One dental center is currently open in the south, one in the center, and one in the north of the country, where at least two dentists are available between 8am-4pm seven days a week. A separate dentist is available for urgent treatment outside of these hours who can be reached at the hotline number: 8002-8080. Pediatrician practices remain open in Luxembourg despite coronavirus.

The Chamber of Deputies committee unanimously decided to suspend Luxembourg’s parliamentary public online petitions’ submissions until April 15.

According to Minister of Agriculture Romain Schneider, 8% of Luxembourg farmland is located on the other side of Luxembourg’s borders with France, Germany, and Belgium. Schneider thanked his counterparts in those countries for keeping the borders open for workers in this special situation.

Luxembourg’s administration for Nature and Forests published a press release confirming that hunting was currently still allowed but under strict conditions.

The Government of Luxembourg has suspended nearly all judicial deadlines while the current pandemic is restricting people’s access to the courts.

U.S.:

Over 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as unemployment skyrockets.

Videos are circulating the internet of military troops, including American troops, moving through the streets of Germany as part of NATO’s DefenderEurope20 exercise activities despite the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. European Command released a statement on Twitter stating that in light of the outbreak, it will modify the exercise and reduce the number of U.S. participants.

Athletes who had already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before they were postponed will keep their places when the showpiece takes place in 2021.

At least one New York hospital has begun putting two patients on a single ventilator machine, an experimental crisis-mode protocol some doctors worry is too risky but others deemed necessary as the coronavirus outbreak strains medical resources.

A federal judge has ordered the release of 10 people with chronic medical conditions held in New Jersey county jails by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement where COVID-19 has been confirmed.

The U.S. Congress is gearing up to vote on its largest emergency aid package in U.S. history in order to respond to the economic fallout caused by coronavirus outbreak. However, there are still questions from the American people on how and when will they receive their stimulus check.


March 26

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

Health Minister Paulette Lenert and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel held a televised press briefing Wednesday to outline the current coronavirus situation. Updates include:

  • 1,333 cases with 21 people receiving intensive care in Luxembourg, as of 4pm Wednesday.
  • 10,000 people have been tested so far in Luxembourg, which is proportionally higher than most other countries.
  • Luxembourg has received 4 lung scanners — one for each hospital center.
  • 175 professionals have come forward in response to the call for volunteers to support the medical centers.
  • Luxembourg is participating alongside Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK in the French clinical study named “Discovery”. The study will test around four medicines that could be effective against the coronavirus. Seven people in Luxembourg will take part.
  • Police continue to monitor the population to ensure basic social distancing rules are respected. Police conduct an average of 200 checks per day and issue around 40 fines.
  • Bettel launched an €8.8 billion rescue plan to shore up the economy, which includes an array of support tools such as loans, subsidies, postponement of tax payments, government-subsidized temporary unemployment, and others.

A third new coronavirus care center opened Wednesday afternoon in Ettelbruck. The fourth is expected to open in Grevenmacher’s Cultural Centre by Friday.

Yesterday – due to a shortage of personnel at Luxembourg’s Airport Cargo Center – Defense and Transport Minister François Bausch discussed temporary transfers of staff from other national sectors into the logistics sector. Responding to this call, USAFE military depot WSA (the Warehouse Service Agency) intends to dispatch 36 employees to Findel Airport.

The Luxembourg Government said its effort to support Luxembourg’s economy during the COVID-19 crisis tallied up to nearly €9 billion, or roughly 15% of the country’s GDP. Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna outlined several forms of grants, guarantees, and financial measures during a press conference Wednesday.

The last Mulhouse patient arrived in Luxembourg Wednesday as the French Grand Est region is threating to become the most unmanageable with 72 new deaths on Tuesday and 2,750 patients in hospital.

More than 6,000 companies in Luxembourg have applied for government support to allow temporary unemployment for staff, which means the Government expects to spend €500 million on the plan in March alone. Labor Minister Dan Kersch expects the number of requests to increase and the government has put procedures in place to expedite requests. There are roughly 30 requests for this aid per month in normal times.

Many people have been contacting pharmacies to ask for chloroquine or its cousin, hydroxy-chloroquine, known as Plaquenil, according to the president of the Luxembourg pharmacists’ union, Alain de Bourcy. However, the drug, which is mainly prescribed for rheumatic diseases in Luxembourg, is not available at present from any pharmacist or wholesaler. He also explained that this is not medication to be purchased over the counter and consumed for symptoms of the flu despite contrary rumors, particularly those expounded by President Donald Trump.

RTL looked at Luxembourg’s testing frequency and how positive results compare internationally. Luxembourg is in the top 5 countries worldwide for testing rates.

Tageblatt and Luxemburger Wort published a portrait interview with Health Minister Paulette Lenert who, after less than two months in office, has become extremely popular among the Luxembourg population as the “Crisis Management Minister” showing high competence and dedication.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the EU Schengen agreement, which abolished internal borders within the European Union. Foreign Minister Asselborn issued an official statement on Wednesday evening, calling for strict compliance with EU Treaties when implementing current temporary border controls due to coronavirus.

French Ambassador to Luxembourg, Bruno Perdu, spoke with the daily Le Quotidien about life in an Embassy under confinement measures.

U.S.:

The U.S. Senate approved a historic $2 trillion (€1.8 trillion) rescue plan to respond to the economic and health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, putting pressure on the Democratic-led House to pass the bill quickly and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

President Trump wants America to get back to business by Easter, but Corporate America is taking its lead from health professionals who are less optimistic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, had a straightforward message Wednesday night about how long the novel coronavirus could affect daily life in the US: “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo stated Wednesday that New York State, which is leading the nation in coronavirus infections and deaths, is showing tentative signs of curbing the spread of the disease with the rate of hospitalizations slowing in recent days.

Star Chef Jose Andres is transforming his restaurants across the country into food supply spots for the needy in response to the coronavirus crisis.

United Airlines has stepped back plans to cut 95% of capacity and will now reinstating some daily international routes to Europe, Asia and Australia, while running a few additional flights between now and the end of March to repatriate displaced travelers. In a statement on 21 March, the Chicago-based carrier says it will operate daily flights from Newark to Frankfurt, London and Tel Aviv, from Houston to Sao Paolo, and from San Francisco to Sydney and Tokyo, through the May schedule.

With many live television shows on hold due to the coronavirus, comedians, late-night hosts, and celebrities have turned to social media including TikTok and video platforms like YouTube to entertain their fans. John Oliver is broadcasting his “Last Week Tonight” show from an empty studio and The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, is creating shows from his home featuring his family and other celebrity guests.


March 25

Please see below for a selection of daily COVID-19 news updates from Ambassador Evans

Luxembourg:

After new cases slowed over the weekend, numbers shot up again on Tuesday with 224 new infections, bringing the total to 1,099.  The number of deaths as remained at eight. Health minister Paulette Lenert will hold a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon to address the crisis, which is flooding hospitals with a deluge of patients requiring intensive care.  The country expects the epidemic to peak within two weeks. RTL has created a graphic overview of the coronavirus spread in Luxembourg.

Worldwide, Luxembourg is currently ranked in the top five for number of tests performed on the general population.

Epidemiologist Joel Mossong of the LNS speculates Luxembourg is looking at another 6-12 weeks of lockdown measures.

The Rockhal concert venue in Esch-Belval is now serving as an advanced medical center where residents south of Luxembourg can be tested and see a doctor if they show symptoms of the coronavirus. Mayor Jean-Paul Schaaf announced Ettelbrück will open a third advanced corona center today, Wednesday.

The City of Luxembourg on Monday announced all previous scheduled sporting and cultural activities scheduled supposed to take place during the next three months, will be canceled.

The head of Luxembourg Institute for Health (LIH) says masks are an additional protection against the coronavirus, but should in no way prevent people from washing hands and keeping their distance from others.

The Chamber of Commerce and House of Entrepreneurship launched a new platform, JobSwitch, connecting employers facing chronic staff shortages to self-employed jobseekers looking for short-term work.

The European Commission has greenlit a €300m loan package mobilized by Luxembourg’s government to help businesses in difficulty because of the coronavirus crisis.

Luxembourg City, Esch-sur-Alzette, Dudelange and Ettelbruck froze rents on their shops and restaurants to help tenants forced to close to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

The director general of CGDIS announced on Tuesday that 31 people from Luxembourg’s fire and rescue services have had to stop work because they were exposed to coronavirus.  In response, CGDIS has taken several steps to ensure staff are safe and services can continue including suspending first responder service.

The Luxembourg Archdiocese reinforced measures for funerals: only next of kin are allowed to attend the burial of the deceased and no mass or church events will occur until further notice.

Luxembourg’s airport is processing around 100 cargo flights a week at present, an unusually high number for this time of year.  Teams at the airport are reportedly close to collapse, as nearly half of the 1,500-strong workforce is currently unable to work.

Two dozen tourists from Luxembourg spent 60 hours in isolation before returning home from Brazil and Cuba just in time as the country is quarantining all remaining tourists for a month.

U.S.

White House, Senate Agree To $2 Trillion Coronavirus Rescue Package

The State Department mobilizes to help Americans stranded abroad. The United States is trying to repatriate some 13,500 Americans stranded overseas by the pandemic but does not believe it can reach all of them, the State Department said Monday.

Selfless acts: How Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus

The Bright Side: Coronavirus is Bringing Communities, Couples Closer Together

Fauci: Media should stop ‘pitting’ me against Trump

Loss of smell, taste, might signal pandemic virus infection

CDC:  Coronavirus can survive on a surface for 17 days

CDC: Cases and Latest Updates

International

Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus

Although many countries are taking measures to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the coronavirus – and many countries, including China and South Korea, have halted the spread of coronavirus — there is concern that contaminated travelers from abroad will start a new outbreak because of insufficient global coordination.

The European Union’s law enforcement arm helped spearhead a global crackdown on gangsters peddling a “staggering amount” of fake products online linked to the Covid-19 virus, according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

French police removed hundreds of migrants from a camp just north of Paris on Tuesday in the first such move aimed at limiting coronavirus spread among homeless people around the capital.

Sweden has been “very laid back” in handling the coronavirus crisis. Bars, restaurants, fitness clubs, retail shops, and schools were still open last week.

Turkey plans ‘corona amnesty’ for about a third of prisoners interned in the country’s detention centers. Political prisoners are an exception.

The Walt Disney Company rolled out its Disney+ streaming service in seven European countries, but has reduced bandwidth because of the heavy demand on network infrastructure during the crisis.

March 24


March 18

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ambassador Deborah Birx, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams filmed a short video explaining social distancing.


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