Luxembourg wants to prevent a second Corona wave with comprehensive tests of the entire population. Residents and employees were divided into small groups, whose members are tested alternately and regularly: “If there are new infections, we know exactly where it happens and can break chains,” said the Director of the Luxembourg Health Institute, Ulf Nehrbass. Up to 20,000 tests per day are currently possible at 17 test stations.
Luxembourg was the first European country to offer such extensive testing on Covid-19, said Nehrbass. Ten percent of the 600,000 plus 300,000 cross-border commuters have already been “tested”. Around 30 million euros are available for the voluntary tests from the beginning of May to the end of July. “It would be good if the tests continued afterwards,” said Nehrbass, who is also the spokesman for the Covid-19 task force in Luxembourg.
The second wave is expected in autumn. “And we should be ready there.”
The focus of the test procedure is initially on people who have a lot of contact at work such as in the hospitality industry, the police and with nurses and doctors. They would be tested every two weeks. However, because someone else is tested almost every day in the individual test groups, Nehrbass said that there is always a good overview of the current infection situation.
These “virtual test cells”, which could each contain two, five or ten people, are like a “close-knit network that is laid out across the work sector and across the population”.
Nehrbass could not say whether the procedure could also be transferred to larger countries. “The logistical structure is very complex.” but if it were feasible, it would be “certainly a good idea”.
Everyone was wondering how long we would have to live with this virus but it is not yet foreseeable – “and that’s probably why this is a solution that offers a certain stability over a long period of time, which enables you to return to a normal and working life.”
So far, the number of people tested on Covid-19 in Luxembourg is just under 4100 and 110 people have died in connection with the virus.
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