LOCAL MONDAY 25 JANUARY
Coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend the Ministry of Health reported 266 new resident cases derived from 15,156 tests. The positivity rate was 1,76%. There have been 2 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 564. 58 individuals are in hospital, with 15 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.98.
On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Xavier Better and Health Minister Paulette Lenert announced that the current measures regarding the coronavirus will be extended until the 21st of February, this includes restaurant closures. The current restrictions have shown results but, due to uncertainty brought by the spread of new strains of the virus, the government has decided that now is not the time to end the partial lockdown. Prime Minister Bettel also confirmed that the government considers introducing new measures for people coming back into Luxembourg. More details are expected later this week.
At a protest on Saturday, hotel, restaurant and café owners and employees voiced their frustration with the current measures and their recent extension. These businesses are struggling financially, and they point to the high rental costs in the city as a major issue; the owners feel let down by the government. The demonstrators marched through the capital and protested in front of the city hall on Place Guillaume II.
Luxembourg’s Minister of Internal Security, Henri Kox this wekend made an unofficial visit to Luxembourg-Gare and Bonnevoie districts. Some of these parts of the Luxembourgish capital are regarded as drug sale hotspots. The Minister’s visit was aimed to better understand the difficulties encountered by police officers in the field. Last November 30 additional police officers were assigned to the train station district to reinforce the presence of the Police.
At 7.30pm Sunday evening two masked men robbed the petrol station in Rollingergrund of cigarettes and cash. They fled on foot in the direction of Eech. Both men wore dark clothing and were slim built and 1m 70 in height. Both spoke French. One wore a blue facemask, the other a black face covering. Police are asking for information on 113.
Five socially distanced concerts will be held in Rockhal in February. This project is regarded as a trial and will be supervised by the Ministry of Health. The series of concerts, labelled ‘Because Music Matters’ will be held in front of an audience of one hundred people. Those in attendance will have to take a free Covid-19 test a week before and after the concert. If this new format proves to be a success it could lead to a return of regular live music performances.
LOCAL NEWS FRIDAY 22 JANUARY
The Ministry of Health reported 115 new resident cases derived from 6,981 tests. There have been no additional deaths, leaving the death toll at 562. 72 individuals are in hospital, with 14 in intensive care. The effective reproductive rate is 0.97. To date, a total of 6,193 vaccinations have been carried out in Luxembourg.
A press conference will be hosted by the government at 3pm this afternoon. It is expected that the PM and Health Minister will announce adjustments to Covid measures going forward.
The Patient Representatives Association expressed concern yesterday at the disorganisation of the vaccination process, and urged the government to publish a clear and transparent timetable showing when each group of people would receive invitations, and to more clearly define who was classed as vulnerable. They also proposed prioritising those who are actually in favour of being vaccinated.
As the embezzlement and money laundering case against real estate magnate Flavio Becca entered its final day, the public prosecutor demanded a 42-month prison sentence, confiscation of 324 luxury watches and a fine of €250,000. This case dates back to a lawsuit tax authorities filed in 2011.Mr Becca claims his companies bought approximately 850 luxury watches, as a personal investment. A verdict is expected to be announced on 4 March. It is possible that any prison sentence could be suspended as Mr Becca has no prior convictions.
Luxembourg Mayor Lydia Polfer this week presented recent figures that showed Luxembourg City’s population has increased by more than 30% in a decade and is set to pass the 125,000 mark in the coming weeks. A number of major infrastructure projects, such as the tram, the new stadium and the Porte de Hollerich have been planned to keep pace with the explosion in the capital’s population. Moreover, 2020 saw the highest number of building permits since 2016, over 3.5 times more registered births than deaths, and foreign workers attracted by a buoyant job market. 124,832 people are currently living in the city, 70% are not Luxembourgers.
The Red Cross has announced its intention to sell Birtrange castle in the commune of Schieren. The property, and it’s 85 hectares of land, were bequeathed to the NGO by Baroness Claudine de Broqueville. Bidding starts at €5.2m, the Red Cross will receive two thirds of the sale proceeds. The remaining third will go to Claudine de Broqueville’s legal heirs.
LOCAL NEWS 21 JANUARY
The Ministry of Health yesterday reported 229 new resident covid 19 cases derived from 8,487 tests. There have been 2 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 562. 84individuals are in hospital, with 17 in intensive care. The effective reproductive rate is 0.84. To date, a total of 5,249 vaccinations have been carried out in Luxembourg.
In a move to improve user access, The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that a new large-scale testing centre will open in Mersch on Monday 25 January.This will replace the existing centre in Roost, which ceases operation on Saturday 23 January.
Health Minister Paulette Lenert said in parliament yesterday that the response by front-line personnel to coronavirus vaccination invitations has been poor. Of the 5,230 people invited, only one-third (approximately 1,650) have signed up so far.The deadline for this first cohort to make an appointment expires this coming Sunday.
The Luxembourgish labour market continues to be hit by the coronavirus crisis, with the Employment Development Agency reporting that there were 19,918 available resident job seekers in December 2020 – an increase from December 2019 of 20.5%.There were actually fewer new registrations in December, but equally fewer people entering employment than would normally be expected.
Police have reported that a 12-year-old boy has been missing since Sunday. Rodrigo Ferreira Correia was last seen in Schifflange, in south-western Luxembourg, around noon on Sunday.He is described as being about 1.73m tall, weighing 65kg and was wearing light grey jeans and a dark jacket when last seen.Anyone with information should contact the police by telephone on: 244-501000 or via email: email@example.com.
The City of Luxembourg declared yesterday that tap water is safe to drink again after rinsing out the pipes on Monday evening and analysing the water for traces of Manganese on Tuesday.
Hit Luxembourg series “Capitani”, which was seen last year on RTL by 1.5 million viewers, will get a global release on American streaming platform Netflix on 11 February. This will considerably increase the series’ exposure as Netflix streams to 190 countries and 200 million subscribers worldwide.
LOCAL Wednesday 20 January
A coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 85 new resident cases derived from 7,115 tests. There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 560. 88 individuals are in hospital, with 20 in intensive care. The effective reproductive rate is 0.94. To date, a total of 4,569 vaccinations have been carried out in Luxembourg.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo by phone about the COVID-19 situation. Mr Bettel emphasised the need to keep borders open and ensure the free movement of people, especially cross-border workers, and goods. Regular exchanges are set to continue.
Luxembourg and Belgium’s transport ministries have urged the European Commission to invest in the Brussels-Luxembourg railway connection as part of the Green Deal. Minister François Bausch and his Belgian counterpart George Gilkinet made this appeal in a joint letter to Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. The railway link is considered an important axis for both international and cross-border rail traffic, although the journey currently takes around three hours with frequent stops along the way.
DP MEP Monica Semedo has been suspended for two weeks following allegations that she psychologically harassed her former assistants. European Parliament President David Sassoli confirmed that Ms Semedo would not be allowed to take part in parliamentary activities and would not receive her daily allowance during this period. Whilst she can appeal the suspension, the Luxembourg MEP said in a press release that she accepted the decision and apologised for her actions.
Luxembourg’s police reported that a pedestrian suffered serious injuries following a road accident in Grevenmacher. On Monday evening, a car hit a pedestrian on a zebra crossing below the bridge on the Luxembourg-German border. The victim was unresponsive to first aid at the scene of the accident and was taken to hospital.
The UK recently introduced new COVID-19 testing requirements for entry. According to the latest government guidance, test results must be in English, French or Spanish. No other languages will be accepted. Whilst most results in Luxembourg are issued in French, travellers to the UK should make sure that their test result is in French rather than German. The British in Europe coalition has asked the British authorities to review this policy.
LOCAL NEWS Tuesday 19 January
Coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported Monday, 37 new resident cases derived from 653 tests. The positivity rate was 5.67%.There have been 5 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 557. 68 individuals are in hospital, with 20 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.92. The vaccination center at Victor Hugo Hall in Limpertsberg is in full operation. While another one, in Mondorf, is expected to open in order to cover most of the population living in the Eastern part of the country.
The Police continues to carry out checks across Luxembourg in order to ensure compliance with Covid-19 rules. Last week 380 such checks were carried out, particularly concerning the curfew, measures in shopping centers and restrictions on gatherings. This resulted in police officers issuing fines to around 140 people. The majority of which was due to people being out after curfew which is between 11pm and 6am.
The train connection between Bettembourg logistics hub and Chengdu in South Western China has hit a stumbling block. In spite of much publicised trial runs earlier, China now appears to have lost interest. Luxembourg is pushing to play a bigger role in the transport sector and connections to Scandinavia through the German port of Rostock will deepen from this month. The Grand Duchy is also looking at further connections to Hungary and Poland within the next two years
Local authorities have announced that tap water in certain areas of Luxembourg city is currently unsafe to drink. Due to technical issues water Manganese, a chemical element, had leaked into the drinking water around Cloche d’Or, or “new” Gasperich. Water should be boiled for at least 10 minutes according to the authorities. The tap water should not be used to wash fruit or vegetables. But it is okay for showering and washing in. Some of the issues have been fixed and tap water is now safe to consume in the previously affected municipality of Hesperange.
The best photos from World Press Photo Exhibition 2020 will be displayed in Luxembourg for the first time. This edition will represent the most significant events of 201. The collection of photos will be displayed at Neimënster in Luxembourg city, from the 23rd January to the 21st of February. The exhibition will be open to the public every day, from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free of charge.
The national car dealership federation has decided to extend the annual Autofestival. This decision comes as a result of the imposed Sunday closures of shops, including car dealerships.
Rockhal is scheduled to reopen its door in February. The Esch-Belval venue has not hosted a concert since the 7th of March last year. The organisers are preparing a series of live music events which will accommodate up to 100 people.
LOCAL NEWS Monday 18 January
Coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend the Ministry of Health reported 222 new resident cases derived from 14,197 tests. The positivity rate was 1.26% There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 552. 72 individuals are in hospital, with 18 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.86.
The Luxembourgish authorities unveiled details of the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the Grand Duchy. To the stock of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be added more from four other manufacturers. AstraZaneca, Johnson & Johnson, Curevac and Sanofi-GSK will be the newest suppliers according the plan. With the Sanofi contract still being negotiated by the European Commission. Full details of the purchasing plan can be found at chronicle.lu.
Business owners from the Horesca sector protested on Place d’Armes last Saturday. They feel they have been forgotten by the Luxembourgish government during the pandemic. Many of the protesters consider that the subsidies are not enough to cover their establishments’ expenses, in particular the high rents in Luxembourg. And, they say that the government’s support is coming too late. Many business owners from the sector are losing their livelihood. Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Lex Delles responded by saying he understood the people’s concerns. He highlighted the newly introduced support for the so called “non-covered costs”. Delles also encouraged business owners to apply for the relaunch aid and pointed towards the number of subsidies offered by the government.
Stëmm vun der Stross, the organisation, which supports rough sleepers, made an appeal for more good quality winter clothes for the homeless they serve. Director Alexandra Oxacelay emphasised that she hopes that the organisation would only receive washed and undamaged clothes, saying that the shelves of the charity’s clothes centres empty quickly during the winter months, but this was no reason to send damaged and unwashed clothes. The Kleederstuff, clothes store, in Esch-sur-Alzette and Luxembourg City collects, washes and organises second-hand clothes and hands them out free of charge to people in need. They provide seasonal essentials but also business attire, for example for people invited to a job interview who cannot afford a new wardrobe. The scheme employs ten people as part of a programme to reintegrate jobseekers into the workplace
LOCAL NEWS Friday 15th January
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg:
The Ministry of Health reported 114 new resident cases derived from 8,875 tests. There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 545. Of the 91 individuals in hospital, 23 are in intensive care.The effective reproductive number is down from yesterday at 0.87.
Luxembourg’s wastewater has been examined for traces of the coronavirus, which means that the course of the pandemic can be estimated a few days in advance. The latest measurements point slightly upwards, but it is not yet clear whether these fluctuations are enough to indicate a new trend. Nine of the eleven considered Sewage treatment plants show an increase in values.
And in an unfortunate mix up, despite the fact that they were not priority healthcare staff, 93 people received an invitation for a Covid 19 vaccination due to a technical error with the automatic invitation programme.
HORESCA, the organisation representing the hospitality industry, issued a press release yesterday criticising the lack of financial support from the government throughout the current coronavirus restrictions. COVID 19 restrictions will continue to apply to restaurants, cafes and bars until 31 January 2021,
Horesca is demanding Prime Minister Bettel overturn the discriminatory decision. Whilst recognising that financial support received by the sector is greater than in other countries, they say businesses also have to face much higher rent costs.
Meanwhile, The General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises announced yesterday that shops will not be allowed to open on Sundays throughout the imminent winter sales period “In order to protect the health of citizens and stem the spread of COVID-19”.
The Federation of taxis, rental cars and ambulances are protesting the proposed reforms to the taxi sector unveiled last week by the government which will come into force in 2022.
The federation worries that plans to include rental cars with Uber-style drivers will not help a sector that is already “almost at a complete standstill”
Furthermore, the federation claims that he proposed elimination of existing taxi zones which carve out the national territory runs the risk of providers being unwilling to serve areas outside of the capital “where customers are easier to reach”
In news that will surprise absolutely no one, Eurostat published a study yesterday revealing that the highest annual increases in EU house prices for the third quarter of 2020 were recorded in Luxembourg, with a price hike of 13.6%.
Poland (+10.9%) and Austria (+8.9%) came second and third.
While prices fell in Cyprus(-1.4%) and Ireland(-0.8%) , overall the EU saw an average rise in house prices of 5.2%.
LOCAL NEWS Thursday 14th January
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg:
The Ministry of Health reported 190 new resident cases derived from 9,766 tests. There have been 4 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 542. Of the 92 individuals in hospital, 21 are in intensive care.The effective reproductive number is 1.00.
The National Health Laboratory confirmed yesterday that a total of six cases of the British coronavirus variant have been detected in the Grand Duchy to date. As yet however, no cases of the South African or Japanese coronavirus variants have been detected.
Changes to Luxembourg’s child benefits are imminent after a court ruled that the current legislation is indirectly discriminatory. In future benefits will be linked to workers as opposed to the child. Currently, a child can benefit from the scheme only if a birth parent works in Luxembourg or they live here. A stepparent or partner of the parent working in Luxembourg is also denied benefit. Last year, the European Court of Justice found the system did not conform with European law.On Tuesday, Minister of family Corinne Cahen said, the reform should guarantee equality between residents and cross-border workers.
US ambassador Randy Evans yesterday issued a farewell video message to Luxembourg. Mr Evans said, “The grand duchy is a treasure, hidden away, but with a light that shines for all to see”. Mr Evans arrived in Luxembourg as President Trump’s representative in June 2018. The USA’s ambassador is a political appointment, and is typically someone who has been a significant financial donor to the party. The next representative will be chosen by Joe Biden.
Yesterday morning, two workers were hit by a falling steel bar at a construction site in Mondercange. Scaffolding, which was erected using a crane, collapsed during assembly. Both men were taken to hospital but only one of the two had to remain in hospital.
The Prison Administration announced yesterday that a prisoner was found dead in his cell at Schrassig . Prison at approximately 9.15 pm on Tuesday evening.Immediate attempts to resuscitate the man proved unsuccessful.Judicial authorities were informed and an autopsy has been ordered.
LOCAL NEWS Wednesday 13th January
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 153 new resident cases derived from 10,406 tests. There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 538. 92 individuals are in hospital, with 24 in intensive care. The effective reproductive number is 1.01.
Vaccination against COVID-19 commenced in Luxembourg’s hospitals yesterday. Over 200 frontline medical workers already received the vaccine at the end of December, but the campaign now includes vaccination for all other hospital staff. The Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg confirmed it would be vaccinating at least 60 people per day over the next weeks and Hôpitaux Robert Schuman said that 3,700 of its staff would receive the vaccine in a first stage.
South Korean company INFINIQ has established its European headquarters in Luxembourg, with the support of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Seoul and Luxinnovation. The artificial intelligence and machine learning data specialist will use this new branch as a base for expanding its business beyond South Korea into the global autonomous driving data market.
As reported by other local media, Luxembourg’s Court of Auditors has concluded that the Economy Ministry’s FAGE yoghurt factory plans lacked transparency. According to the report, the Economy Ministry failed to inform the Finance Ministry of its plans and offered no explanation as to why the land was sold rather than leased out back in 2016. The plans were scrapped when FAGE pulled out of the project after more than four years of trying unsuccessfully to secure planning permission.
Both the Cinémathèque and Kinepolis unveiled their programmes for the coming weeks as cinemas reopen this week. Kinepolis cinemas open again today, with new releases including George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” and Luxembourg co-production “Wolfwalkers”. The Cinémathèque will welcome spectators again from Saturday, with classics such as Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” on this month’s agenda.
Luxembourg was trending on Twitter yesterday evening after Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn declined to meet with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The snub came days after the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump and reportedly contributed to Mr Pompeo’s decision to cancel his Europe trip at the last minute.
Local News 12th January
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported 42 new resident cases derived from 637 tests. The positivity rate was 6.59%. There have been 2 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 529. 92 individuals are in hospital, with 23 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 1.06.
Luxembourg has received 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Grand Duchy is the first EU country to have this particular vaccine delivered. Luxembourg now has two anti-Coronavirus vaccines. The advantage that the Moderna vaccine has over the BioNTech/Pfizer one is that it can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius. While the latter requires storage at -70 degrees Celsius. An additional delivery of 4,875 doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine also arrived as planned yesterday.
A study by a team of Luxembourg based researchers has published a positive assessment of the large scale testing in the country. The study shows that mass testing has resulted in having up to 39% less Covid-19 cases. These numbers come as a result of a simulation. The paper also states that the Intensive care unit would have been 45% fuller than it is now.
The Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development issued a press release regarding its Action plan for better air quality. They announced that citizens and municipalities may review and comment on the action plan. This government initiative comes in light of the discovery of several violations of emission limits in 2020. The published document proposes measures to improve the situation regarding air quality in the short term.
Since November last year Caritas Luxemboug’s Street Nurses project has helped over 100 people on the street. The NGO is aiding homeless people who are in need of medical attention. Their aim is to provide immediate help to those often suffering of more than one condition. But also helping those without a home to regain trust in the healthcare system. Such initiatives exist in neighboring countries but are only just beginning to develop here.
Local News 11th January
First a Corona Virus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend the government reported 240 new cases of corona virus from 20,097 tests. 6 new deaths were reported from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in the Grand Duchy to 527. The positivity rate was 1.16%.%. The reproduction rate is currently 1.09.
Luxembourg will receive its first 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine today. This was announced by Health Minister Paulette Lenert on Friday evening.
The new Covid-19 law was passed in Luxembourg’s Chamber. Starting today, it will see measures relaxed in the sport and cultural sectors. Shops and services such as hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms are now allowed to reopen. However restaurants will remain closed. Schools also return to school today. The new law was met with criticism by the opposition parties: CSV, ADR, The Left and the Pirate Party. For them the measures are not coherent with the government’s strategy. They also consider that the current measures should have been kept for at least two more weeks.
Meanwhile some citizens consider the government’s measures too much. Around 200 protested the restrictions by gathering in Luxembourg city on Saturday. The event had been promoted on social media during the week. The event took place between the Glacis and Place Guillaume II. Demonstrators voiced their opposition to the wearing of masks, large-scale testing, the restrictions introduced by the government as well as the vaccine and 5G.
Non-profit organisations “Catch a smile” and “Diddeleng Hëlleft” joined efforts to support refugees in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The NGOs called for people to donate winter clothes for those in need. About 6,000 refugees are stuck in Bosnia currently and are living in poor conditions. The Luxembourg based initiative was a big success. Lots of people showed up donating bags full of warm clothes, blankets, and shoes. Those will be transported to the Balkan country and distributed appropriately.
The Luxembourg City market will have its location changed. From the 13th of January on, the market will take place at Place Hamilius. This decision has been taken as a result of construction work at Place Guillaume II, the market’s traditional location. Around 40 street vendors usually gather to sell their goods every Wednesday and Saturday.
Local News 8th Januray
First a Corona Virus update for Luxembourg: There were 161 new cases of coronavirus from 10 114 tests. 4 new deaths were reported from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in the Grand Duchy to 521. The positivity rate was 1.59%. The R rate has dropped again to 0.87. Dan Kersch, the Minister for Sport, also announced that rapid covid testing is to be rolled out for elite sports in Luxembourg so that they can recommence as soon as possible.
Coronovirus has had an impact on the total number of deaths in Luxembourg. November saw the highest death count since March 1976. However, although seemingly alarming, it is emphasised that the population of the Duchy has grown significantly since then, and people generally live longer. For example, the average age of people who died between January and October last year was 80.4 for women and 74 for men.
Sam Tanson, the Minister of Culture, last night announced that museums, cinemas, theatres, libraries and concert halls will be re-opening their doors from Monday, but only under strict conditions. Masks and distancing will of course be mandatory, and in places of performance audience participants will be capped at 100.
Elsewhere, bar, cafe and restaurant owners have been leaving their lights on in an attempt to grab people’s attention and highlight that they need financial help. Although they receive some assistance from the Government, they don’t receive cover for their rents and are complaining that this will force many establishments to close their doors for good. The campaign will run until the end of January
Statec has announced that it expects an economic rebound in 2021, after a miserable 2020. It believes that households have some cash to splash after spending opportunities dried up throughout the pandemic. It predicts that the economy could grow by up to 4% this year, although this is the most optimistic scenario. However, consumer confidence is still low, with many households unwilling to spend big when they have concerns about job security.
Separately, Statec also revealed the typical household in Luxembourg, as if there is one, spent €335 a month on energy bills, totalling an impressive €4020 a year. On average about 30% of this amount is spent on electricity.
And finally . . .
A 60 year old man faces five years in prison after causing a bomb scare at a cinema in Kirchberg and multiple supermarket branches. Prosecutors are seeking a strong sentence for the man, who, strangely, is already serving a prison sentence in Nancy in France, from where he presumably made the call.
Local News Thursday 7th January
First a Corona Virus update for Luxembourg: There were 281 new cases of coronavirus from 12 244 tests. 3 new deaths were reported from COVID-19 were reported, bringing the total death toll in the Grand Duchy to 517. The positivity rate was 2.3%. The R rate has dropped to 0.9.
Luxembourg government’s relaxation of covid-19 restrictions has been met with criticism from one of its closest neighbours. Speaking to Saarland Radio on Wednesday Saarlaand’s head of State, Tobias Hans criticized the decision, saying “To be honest, I consider it irresponsible to relax restrictions while there are such high infection rates. Mr Hans said the government should rethink the decision to lift lockdown. Stating the decision is “a real burden in the greater region”. Mr Hans warned of a possible spread of the latest virus mutation, since, in his words “it is known that there are close links between Luxembourg and Great Britain, where the new mutation is rampant”. Mr Bettel justified the easing of the restrictions with falling numbers of new corona infections. However, he conceded that the situation remains “tense”.
Meanwhile, gyms and swimming pools could reopen next week if the latest law concerning coronavirus measures passes on Friday. Sports Minster Dan Kersch said that the risk of being infected through sport was lower than during social activities.
A young pedestrian in Esch sur Alzette has been the victim of brutal robbery after being attacked by four men. After forcing him to hand over his mobile phone and money, the cowardly perpetrators them assaulted him, after which he managed to escape. Please contact the police if you have any information.
Arcelor Mittal, the Luxembourg steel company, has been handed a €150 000 fine and €10 000s worth of damages for polluting the Fensch river in France not once, but twice. The company pleaded against the fine, claiming that they are undergoing a “process of improvement” on environmental issues. However this was rejected by the local community and the French state, who pointed out that the company had done nothing despite repeated pollution episodes. The two directors of the site have since been released.
Roman Schneider, the Minister of Social Security confirmed yesterday that CNS repayments could be delayed by up to 8 weeks. Seasonal peaks as well as staff shortages are to blame, according to the minister, who added that additional temporary staff were now being hired to swiften the process.
Local News for 6th January 2020
First a corona Virus Update for Luxembourg:
Yesterday there were 163 new cases of coronavirus from 9,318 tests. Six further deaths from COVID-19 reported, bringing the total death toll in the Grand Duchy to 514. The positivity rate was 1.75%. The R rate is 1.01.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Minister of Health Paulette Lenert announced a relaxation of some Covid-19 measure, but an extension of others. The Prime Minister stated that while Luxembourg’s infection numbers were “going in the right direction, numbers remain high. Last week, there was an average of 167 new cases per day and the positivity rate stood at 3.06%. Consequently, some measures have been extended until the end of the month: a household can still meet a maximum of two people from one other household; but restaurants, cafes and bars will remain closed until 31 January. On the other hand, schools and nurseries will reopen next week on Monday the 11th , as will shops, hairdressers, cinemas and theatres. However, shops may only allow a maximum of one customer per 10 square metres, regardless of the size of the establishment. Some sports will also be allowed to resume and the evening curfew will be pushed back to 11pm. Health Minister Lenert emphasised that both the physical and mental health of citizens was a major concern of the government, and changes had been made with this in mind. She added that January will be a “critical” month.
The Prime Minister answered questions about the vaccination roll out, stating that purchasing had been done with the EU, and he was not aware of other countries having different procurement procedures.
Luxembourg’s Parliament is set to vote on the legal text this week.
According to an internal document of the Ministry of Health, the government’s relaxation of covid restrictions may go against the advice of experts. The document assessed the last two weeks in December as marked by a significant decline in daily new infections, but also by a substantial decrease in testing. The incidence of infections remains too high – and it calls for a target of fewer than 150 new infections per day. The document expresses concern regarding the situation in hospitals, where staff shortages remain substantial. According to the document, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 risks remaining high for the foreseeable future. Luxembourg’s mortality rate is high on an international scale. In regard to the new Covid-19 strain first discovered in the UK, the document states that while it spreads more quickly, it is not more pathogenic, but there is a risk that this could lead to increased infections and hospitalisations. The report concluded that the measures against Covid-19 should not be relaxed as yet.
In an interview with local media, Professor Gilbert Massard said that Luxembourg could introduce a master of medicine as early as 2023. Luxembourg has offered the first-year bachelor of medicine since the 1960s, however a full bachelor’s degree was only recently added to the University of Luxembourg’s programme. Professor Massard, who helped launch the bachelor of medicine at the University of Luxembourg, stated that it would be possible to set up the programme within the next three years; in time to serve the first students graduating from the bachelor’s degree. The pandemic has highlighted a weakness in the country’s healthcare system, with an over reliance on staff from abroad. A survey conducted by Luxembourg’s association for medical students found that 30% of the country’s young doctors did not plan to return to Luxembourg after graduation. Besides organising bachelor’s and master’s courses in medicine, Professor Massard said, Luxembourg needs to show that there are good job opportunities here.
This year’s Vakanz travel fair has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; The annual fair normally takes place across three days in late January at Luxexpo. Typically the Vakanz travel fair has brought together more than 200 stands and around 30,000 visitors annually in recent years. Every year, travel agencies, tour operators, family hotels and hotel chains, cruise lines and airlines are on hand to present current trends, classic holidays and unusual destinations….but all that will have to wait.
Local News Tuesday 5th January
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 66 new resident cases derived from 617 tests. There have been 2 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 508. 124 individuals are in hospital, with 34 in intensive care. The effective reproductive number is 0.93.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Health Minister Paulette Lenert will give an update of the COVID-19 situation and related restrictions this afternoon at 2pm. They are expected to address the prospect of extending current measures, which are due to expire next week.
Local non-profit organisation “Catch A Smile” has launched an appeal for donations of men’s winter clothing (in sizes small to large) for refugees in Bosnia. The organisation is looking for items such as winter coats, jumpers, boots, socks and thermal underwear, as well as backpacks, sleeping bags and blankets. Those wishing to help out should drop off their donations at Hall Fondoucq in Dudelange on Saturday 9th January, between 10am and 3pm.
The City of Luxembourg confirmed that it will pick up residents’ unwanted Christmas trees this month. Residents of the capital should place their Christmas tree on the pavement outside their residence before 6am on their usual rubbish collection day. Trees taller than 2 metres must be cut in half. Spray-painted or decorated trees will be disposed of with other rubbish, whilst “clean” trees will be collected separately and composted. Trees can also be dropped off at the recycling centre on Route d’Arlon.
Former princess Tessy Antony de Nassau, the ex-wife of Luxembourg’s Prince Louis, announced on social media her engagement to Swiss businessman Frank Floessel. Tessy and Prince Louis, who have two children together, officially divorced last year.
Local News Monday 4th January 2021
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported 102 new resident cases derived from 4,266 tests. There have been 5 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 506. 125 individuals are in hospital, with 30 in intensive care.
The Health Ministry also confirmed the detection in Luxembourg of a first case of the mutated coronavirus strain, variant B.1.1.7, which originated in the United Kingdom at the end of 2020. This concerns a test carried out between 19th and 29th December and the health inspectorate is currently investigating the origin of this case.
A new rapid test centre opened at Luxembourg Airport at the weekend. Travellers arriving at the airport can now choose to undergo either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test. Passengers will receive a voucher to get tested, with results for the antigen test being sent out via SMS within three hours.
Luxembourg Police carried out over 30 checks nationwide on New Year’s Eve aimed at ensuring compliance with the 9pm to 6am curfew and other COVID-19 restrictions. The checks were mostly in response to complaints of night-time disturbances or fireworks being let off. Officers also had to intervene at a hotel in Niederanven, where they found and confiscated drugs and a brass knuckle-duster from five individuals.
Police officers also intervened and issued fines in western Luxembourg on Saturday afternoon, in response to reports of many cars being parked on the road. The incident occurred in Grevels, where crowds had gathered to enjoy the snow.
It’s back to school for students in Luxembourg, although all classes are being held remotely this week due to the pandemic. Nurseries and daycare centres also remain closed until 10th January, with working parents permitted to take family leave during this period.
Local News Thursday 24th December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 400 new resident cases derived from 15,372 tests. There have been 5 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 458. 192 individuals are in hospital, with 40 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.86.
COVID-19 cases were down 22% last week compared to the week before. The number of people in isolation and quarantine also dropped over one week, by 8% and 18% respectively. The number of weekly deaths fell from 44 to 38. The source of infection was not clearly attributable in almost 32% of cases, although the family circle remained the most frequent source of transmission, at over 40%.
640 cases were identified in schools last week, although there were no scenario 4 cases. Scenario 4 refers to a chain of infection within a school, concerning several classes or a class with more than five cases.
Great news for some this Christmas Eve as flights between the United Kingdom and Luxembourg resume today. The government had previously announced the suspension of flights between the two countries until 4th January. Passengers are now able to travel again provided they can show a negative coronavirus test result no older than 48 hours. If the test was carried out between 48-72 hours in advance, they can still fly but must get tested again at Luxembourg Airport and then self-isolate until they receive the result.
Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn inaugurated the new first reception centre for applicants for international protection in Luxembourg City. The centre has a maximum capacity of 251 people and is intended as a reception structure where applicants stay during their first weeks in Luxembourg. It will replace the current centre in Strassen and will welcome its first occupants in January. The premises also house the offices of the National Reception Office, the Health Inspectorate, the Directorate of Immigration and the Luxembourg Red Cross, as well as a medical area.
Local News Wednesday 23rd December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 227 new resident cases derived from 10,503 tests. There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 453. 193 individuals are in hospital, with 39 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.88.
POST Luxembourg temporarily suspended its deliveries to the United Kingdom. The move follows the decision of the Luxembourg government to suspend flights between Luxembourg and the UK until 4th January and disruptions related to road and rail connections due to the detection of a new variant of COVID-19 in Great Britain.
Education Minister Claude Meisch confirmed at a press conference that schools will revert to remote learning for at least one week after the Christmas holidays. Attendance is mandatory. Final year exams in January have been pushed back a week for secondary school students. Childcare facilities will close from 28th December until 10th January, with the exception of the children of healthcare workers. From 11th January, school students and staff will be invited to get tested for coronavirus and classrooms will be equipped with CO2 measuring devices for ventilation purposes. The government is also considering whether to prioritise teachers after healthcare workers and vulnerable people for vaccination.
Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn urged the Turkish authorities to immediately release human rights activist Osman Kavala. Mr Kavala was arrested in Istanbul in 2017 on suspicion of an attempt to overthrow the Turkish government. Last December, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that his detention took place in the absence of sufficient evidence, in violation of his rights. Minister Asselborn regretted that he had still not been released, calling on Turkey to comply with their contractual obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.
The government has extended filing deadlines for tax returns in the context of the health crisis and related restrictions. The deadline for filing personal and corporate income tax returns as well as commercial tax returns for 2020 is now the end of June 2021 (instead of 31st March). The deadline for declarations for personal income and business tax for 2019 has been extended until 31st March 2021.
Local News Tuesday 22nd December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 91 new resident cases derived from 1,018 tests. There have been 6 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 450. 207 individuals are in hospital, with 38 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.87.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced stricter COVID-19 measures at a press briefing. Whilst the number of new infections are decreasing, the government considered new restrictions necessary to reduce pressure on hospitals and optimise contact tracing. From this Saturday until 10th January 2021, teleworking is to be strongly encouraged and non-essential retail and services, including hairdressers, will be closed to the public. Pick up and delivery services remain authorised. In addition, the curfew will start two hours earlier, from 9pm until 6am. Alcohol may not be consumed outdoors. All sporting activity outside the private sphere will be prohibited and schools will follow distance learning for at least a week after the Christmas holidays. Fines for non-compliance with the measures in place will be doubled to €300. Bars and restaurants will remain closed until 15th January, as planned.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that the first coronavirus vaccinations will commence on 28th December following the EU’s approval of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Medical staff will be the first to get vaccinated.
Mobility Minister François Bausch confirmed that flights between the United Kingdom and Luxembourg have been cancelled until 4th January due to the detection of a new, more infectious variant of coronavirus. The British Embassy has asked anyone in the UK trying to return to Luxembourg at present to contact them as soon as possible via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. An announcement on travel between the UK and EU member states is expected today.
ADEM and STATEC reported that the number of resident jobseekers remained stable in November, up just 1% over one month. This corresponds to an increase of 188 individuals compared to October. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, calculated by STATEC, remained unchanged, at 6.3%.
A 38-year-old man passed away following a work accident at the Goodyear factory in Colmar-Berg yesterday. The forklift driver had an accident while manoeuvering his work machine and suffered fatal injuries.
In the context of the pandemic, the fee waiver for businesses present on the Letzshop.lu online sales platform has been extended to cover 2021. In addition, delivery costs will be capped at €2.99 for any standard national shipment. The move is aimed at promoting e-commerce and supporting local businesses.
Local News Monday 21st December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported 763 new resident cases derived from 26,350 tests. There have been 10 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 444. 214 individuals are in hospital, with 38 in intensive care. As of Friday, the effective reproduction rate was 0.80. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is no longer self-isolating after testing negative for COVID-19.
Luxembourg is one of several countries to have temporarily banned passenger flights from the United Kingdom in light of the detection of a new, more contagious variant of coronavirus. Since midnight, flights from the UK to Luxembourg have been banned for at least 24 hours, as a precautionary measure and pending new scientific knowledge.
The Government Council is set to meet today to assess the current COVID-19 situation. A decision is expected to be made on whether or not a hard lockdown will be introduced in Luxembourg. Last week, Health Minister Paulette Lenert warned that a full lockdown was increasingly likely. It is believed that stricter measures would see the reclosure of non-essential retail.
Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna confirmed that government expenditure increased by over 12% (i.e. €2 billion) in November compared to the year before. This increase is mainly the result of the government measures put in place to help businesses and to support employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, revenues fell by almost 6% (i.e. €1 billion) over one year, primarily due to an overall weakening of the economy in the context of the health crisis.
Local News Friday 18th December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 434 new resident cases derived from 12,787 tests. There have been 7 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 428. 230 individuals are in hospital, with 47 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.89.
According to local media reports, a local resident in their 30s passed away from the disease recently – the youngest victim to date in Luxembourg. Health Director Jean-Claude Schmit told L’Essentiel that the victim had suffered from an underlying medical condition.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has gone into self-isolation after being in contact with French President Emmanuel Macron, who tested positive for COVID-19. The Luxembourg and French leaders attended the same 2-day European Council summit last week. Whilst Mr Bettel is not currently showing symptoms, he will get tested and remain in self-isolation until the results come back. He will continue to exercise his tasks and functions via teleworking.
Luxembourg and Switzerland are set to return illicitly acquired assets to Peru. The three countries signed an agreement for the return of assets seized and confiscated in connection with a corruption case involving a former senior Peruvian official. Luxembourg is returning a sum of nearly €10 million to Peru, on the condition that these funds benefit the Peruvian people.
The Luxembourg Police are looking for witnesses to a serious road accident which occurred near Niederfeulen on the N15 on Wednesday. The driver of a car with 4 occupants lost control of the vehicle whilst overtaking and collided head-on with a tractor. The accident resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl. Anyone with information should contact the police via the emergency no. 113, tel. 244 85 1000 or email email@example.com.
Parliament approved the 2021 draft budget with the votes of the government majority parties. The opposition parties voted unanimously against it.
Local News Thursday 17th December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 595 new resident cases derived from 13,900 tests. There have been 3 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 421. 235 individuals are in hospital, with 48 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.96.
Despite rising public debt and a greater budget deficit than initially planned, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna expressed optimism for 2021. He noted the strong economic rebound observed in the 3rd quarter of 2020, adding that the prospect of approval of a coronavirus vaccine in the EU also gave cause for hope. As for next year’s budget, new measures amounting to €191 million will result in a deficit of €2.7 billion instead of €2.5 billion, as previously estimated. Luxembourg’s public debt is expected to increase by 7.4% between 2019 and 2021 – the lowest in the EU.
The Chamber of Commerce was less optimistic at its annual economic conference, recalling that the pandemic had not hit all sectors equally. It warned that the second wave had put an end to hopes of a quick economic recovery and urged for business aid measures to be maintained and even extended to ensure the survival of companies into next year and beyond. The chamber also called for a counter-cyclical budgetary policy based on high public investments and a pro-business and stimulating environment.
Luxembourg Air Rescue and its German counterpart, DRF-Luftrettung, received the 2020 De Gaulle-Adenauer award for their assistance in transporting and repatriating COVID-19 patients. The €10,000 prize rewards individuals or institutions that have made an exceptional contribution to the strengthening of the Franco-German relationship.
Fondation Cancer is launching the “Sober Buddy Challenge”, the Luxembourg equivalent to “Dry January”, next month. The public is invited to team up with a buddy and together abstain from drinking alcohol for one month. The challenge will run from 1st to 31st January, with registrations kicking off this month on sober-buddy.lu. The challenge can also be completed alone or with an assigned buddy through the website.
Local News Tuesday 15th December
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 182 new resident cases derived from 1,313 tests. There have been 8 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 410. 189 individuals are in hospital, with 50 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.87.
Germany may have tightened restrictions due to a rise of coronavirus infections. But Luxembourgish authorities do not intend to do the same. Changes to the recently extended measures are not on the agenda. Although infection rates in the Grand Duchy remain high, the authorities consider that there has been improvement recently.
Luxembourg has extended its teleworking agreement with France, Germany and Belgium to June the 30th, 2021. The countries will thus maintain their exceptional tax agreement for cross-border workers. They will be able to pay tax as before and maintain social security in Luxembourg.
STATEC published its estimate of Luxembourg’s real Gross Domestic Product for the third quarter of this year. During this period the real GDP has increased by 9.8% compared to the second quarter. Which suffered largely due to the lockdown measures. Over one quarter, the added value of financial and insurance activities increased by 4.4%. The following sectors: trade, transport & accommodation, and catering rose 19.6%; While construction fell 3.3%
Yesterday the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the International Finance Corporation marked the 10th anniversary of the Green Bond Program. During their partnership the IFC has issued in excess of $10.4 billion of Green Bonds, many of which are listed at LuxSE. The Green Bonds Program has been focused on providing financing for green projects in a number of developing countries. As well as contributing to the growth of sustainable finance.
A Luxembourg co-production was awarded best European documentary at the weekend. Alexander Nanau’s hard-hitting “Collective was praised by judges of the 2020 European Film Awards. The multi award-winning film follows a team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a health-care fraud. The film was made with the support of Film Fund Luxembourg.
Local News Monday 14th December
Over the weekend the Ministry of Health reported 963 new resident cases derived from 22.056 tests. There have been 10 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 402. 179 individuals are in hospital, with 46 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 1.03.
According to recent statistics one third of new infections are due to spread of the virus within families.
The Covid Task Force released its latest evaluation of the handling of the pandemic in Luxembourg. It suggests that the partial lockdown hasn’t given the expected results. Infection numbers have stabilised but remain elevated altogether. Last week, Luxembourg 544 cases per day on average. The Task Force has described the current situation as volatile. The evaluation concludes with saying that additional measures need to be implemented.
This year the European Commission estimated Luxembourg’s pay gap between men and women at 1.4%, this is an improvement on the 2018 report and is now the lowest in the EU. However, issues regarding the disparities between the two genders at the workplace persist. Many positions traditionally filled by women, such as retail and cleaning, are less well paid. Low-paid jobs were also overrepresented on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 20% of women work minimum wage jobs, while that number for men is 13.5%. Also 30% of women work part time jobs compared to just 5% for men. Luxembourg’s first women’s strike took place this year and one of its main demands was recognition of unpaid care work.An activity on which women spend twice as much time as men. The second edition of the Women’s Strike is scheduled for the 8th of March 2021.
This weekend, it was announced that in some municipalities in the Eastern region of Luxembourg tap water could be contaminated. The municipalities include: Betzdorf, Biwer, Flaxweiler, Grevenmacher, Manternach, Mertert, Rosport-Mompach and Wormeldange. Inhabitants are advised to not drink tap water and to not wash salads, vegetables or fruit. The authorities are currently working on finding a solution.
The extension of the tram in Luxembourg city was made official on Sunday. The tram now connects Kirchberg to the city centre and the train station. Travel time from LuxExpo in Kirchberg to the central train station is about 21 minutes. Trams will circulate approximately every 5 minutes during peak hours. Work has already started to extend the line to Howald and to the Cloche d’Or Business center. The final version of the project will see the tram reach Findel airport.
Local News Friday 11th of December
Starting with a corona virus update: The latest figures from the Ministry of Health show that 480 new cases of the virus were discovered on Wednesday from 8,336 tests. 9 new deaths were reported which brings the national death toll to 384. Due to a bug in the system which has since been fixed, daily figures or a little behind.
A construction worker fell five meters from a ladder on Thursday morning and was seriously injured. The accident occurred at a construction site in rue Mme Mayrisch de St Hubert in Dudelange.
The minimum wage will increase by 2.8% in Luxembourg from 1 January, following a unanimous vote in parliament. the new gross monthly salary for unskilled workers will be just over €2,200, and a little under €2,650 for employees with qualifications. Minister of Family and Integration Corinne Cahen said that the measures would help “the poorest and weakest” who “are also the most vulnerable in a crisis”, however business groups were less enthusiastic, The estimated total additional annual bill for all companies in Luxembourg as a result of the jump is around €54 million, when extra social security contributions are taken into account.
The “Inspection générale de la police” (IGP) is currently investigating how effective video surveillance is in Luxembourg City and are conducting a survey among residents of the neighborhoods and districts around the train station. The questions are in the seven languages most widely spoken in the affected districts: Luxembourgish, German, French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. Residents in the area, an estimated 16,057 households, have until December 18th to complete the survey.
And finally the parliamentary petitions commission met this week to review seven new applications. One of which was accepted. The motion to have the day of the miners, the “Bäerbelendag” designated as a National Day of Remembrance passed the 4500 signature threshold and will now be discussed in Parliament.
LOCAL NEWS THURSDAY 10th DECEMBER
First a slightly different coronavirus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health confirmed that a technical issue had resulted in inconsistencies in the official COVID-19 statistics for Tuesday. The daily report in question has been taken down and no report for either Tuesday or Wednesday will be published until the issue is resolved. As such, we do not know how many people tested positive or died from the virus over the last two days.
In a joint press conference with the Health Minister, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that the number of new infections and hospitalisations remains too high. As such, restrictions will not be eased over Christmas. Instead, the COVID-19 restrictions currently in force and originally set to expire next week have been extended until 15th January 2021. This includes the closure of bars and restaurants, household restrictions (i.e. max. two guests from one household), limitations on sports and fitness and the curfew between 11pm and 6am. On top of this, the consumption of takeaway food and drinks in shopping centres will no longer be permitted.
According to STATEC, the annual inflation rate dropped from 0.7% to 0.4% between October and November. This was mainly due to price drops for package holidays, which were down 8.7%, and petroleum products, which were down 1.2% over one month. Food prices went up 0.2%, with jam and honey, pizza and quiche, dairy products and fresh vegetables experiencing price increases.
Three individuals were seriously injured in a work accident in Differdange yesterday. During assembly work in a hall, a beam carried by a crane came loose and a wall collapsed, causing two workers to fall and suffer serious injuries. A third worker was seriously injured by the collapsing wall. The victims received first aid on site before being taken to hospital.
MPs passed Luxembourg’s climate law by 54 votes to 4. Despite criticism that the bill does not go far enough, two of the opposition parties, CSV and the Pirate Party, voted for the bill, whilst the Left abstained and ADR voted against it. The bill has been designed according to the Paris Climate Agreement. It regulates the legalities of the national climate and energy plan and establishes a new climate fund.
LOCAL NEWS MONDAY 7th DECEMBER
First a coronavirus update for Luxembourg: Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported 1198 new resident cases derived from 23,016 tests. There have been 8 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 353. 190 individuals are in hospital, with 40 in intensive care. The effective reproduction rate is 0.91.
Luxembourg Minister of Internal Security, Henri Kox, is in quarantine after being in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. He is reportedly not presenting any symptoms.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stated on Friday that he expects a covid vaccine to be available in Luxembourg in a matter of weeks. They will be provided free of charge and will not be obligatory. The first ones to receive the vaccination will be healthcare staff followed by care home residents and other vulnerable people. Later on, residents will receive invitations by post to register online, similarly to the large-scale PCR testing. Health Minister Paulette Lenert said the vaccine will complement other measures rather than replace them. It is understood that both residents and cross-border workers will be eligible for the vaccine. At the moment it is not certain which vaccine will be used. The Prime Minister stressed that the vaccine would be free of charge and voluntary.
The municipal syndicate FGFC-ASAM issued a press release addressing the controversial hiring of a private security firm to increase security in the capital. The association welcomed the position of Minister of Internal Security Henri Kox. He suggested that the money could be invested in advanced training for traffic wardens instead of hiring an external party. The wardens would take over the task of patrolling the central train station neighborhood. Henri Kox said he will discuss this alternative with Minister of the Interior Taina Bofferding.
The food safety authorities in Luxembourg have issued a statement regarding sesame seeds. This comes after numerous recalls of products containing sesame seeds. They have reportedly been contaminated with ethylene oxide which can cause health complications if consumed regularly. A list of products which have been affected has been posted on the website https://securite-alimentaire.public.lu/. The authorities urge consumers to consult the list which is updated regularly.
A special Drive In Kleeschen event has been set up for kids in Luxembourg. The municipalities of Lamadelaine, Rodange and Pétange organised this as a stand in for the traditional Christmas event. Meanwhile, Luxembourg City alderman Serge Wilmes, posted a picture of a special letterbox, for sending mail to Saint Nicolas. And POST have issued a special address for St Nicolas/Kleeschen where kids can send their letters and if you put your address on the back, St Nicolas will send them a personalized answer back!
The address is
Kleeschen (or St Nicolas)
L-3290 Am Himmelsland
no stamp is needed!
LOCAL NEWS FRIDAY 4th DECEMBER
First a Corona Virus update for Luxembourg: The Ministry of Health reported 625 new resident cases derived from 11,237 tests. There have been 5 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 339. 201 individuals are in hospital, with 41 in intensive care.The effective reproduction rate has slightly increased to 1.05.
Luxembourg, along with France has, indicated that it wants the European Union to gain more independence from the United States by pooling national armies. US President Donald Trump’s attitude toward international cooperation caused concern in Europe, exposing weaknesses in alliances. Speaking in parliament, Defence Minister François Bausch said in a debate about European autonomy said “An EU army is a slogan,” but what really matters is “more cooperation between EU national armies”.
It was a dramatic scene yesterday morning as a police tactical response operation closed off Cote d’Eich and the Grand Rue. Armed men were present and the Grand Ducal police confirmed that a Special Ops unit was operating in the City. However, it was later revealed that this is normal procedure when large sums of money are being physically transferred. The armed police are present to deter any would be bank robbers.
Over 100 firefighters were called to a major blaze at a metalworks in Medernach in the early hours of Thursday morning. The high number from 14 different stations was because of the known presence of explosive gas canisters at the site, coupled with a poor water supply. The fire crews were able control the blaze and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring premises.
An extensive study into racism in the Duchy has been announced by the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen. The issue was raised in Parliament by the Pirate and CSV parties after the Black Lives Matter protests gathered 1500 people on the streets in July. Although the study has been welcomed, an MP for the Pirate Party criticised the fact that the results will be published in 12 months “We simply cannot wait an entire year to take action”, said Marc Goergen.
Luxembourg’s economy took a battering in 2020, but maybe not as much as anticipated. Statec yesterday announced that it expected the economy to shrink between 5 and 6%, which is a considerable improvement on the 6-12% forecast earlier in the year. Additionally, it was optimistic about the prospect of new jobs being created next year, especially in the public sector. It also predicted that inflation will probably remain below the required rate to automatically trigger an increase in wage and pension payments.