Luxembourg is a small country in the heart of Europe surrounded by Germany, France and Belgium, which did and does an excellent job during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The population of Luxembourg is a bit over 600,000.
Every day about 200,000 cross-border workers enter the small country. Approximately 100,000 are from France, 50,000 from Germany and 50,000 from Belgium.
How did Luxembourg manage to keep the Covid-19 pandemic so well under control?
First let's have a look at the Covid-19 stats. Some countries like Germany or Switzerland did put Luxembourg on its list of countries that are considered “at-risk areas” for Covid-19 infections.
Travelers arriving from Luxembourg to Germany must quarantine themselves for 14 days and inform the local health authorities or enter Germany with a negative Covid-19 test not older than 48 hours.
Residents from Germany living in the neighbor regions however can re-enter Germany without any constraints if they were not staying more than 48h, respectively 72 hours in Luxembourg to allow cross-border workers to visit Luxembourg.
To say it in other words, Germans entering Luxembourg to work or profit from other services like the excellent health system may do that, but Luxembourgers can't enter Germany without a negative Covid-19 test, because…?
Is Luxembourg really a high risk area, or are Germany and other countries simply not able to interpret the statistics correctly?
However, other countries like Austria acknowledged that Luxembourg is a country with a very stable Covid-19 situation and management.
The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is the ratio between confirmed deaths and confirmed cases.
You can see that the three countries that surround Luxembourg have way more confirmed deaths per confirmed Covid-19 cases. They have even more than the United States, which cannot be the best sign.
Number of Covid-19 tests per 1,000 people
Luxembourg is testing a multiple of their neighbor countries and all the countries in Europe.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases per million
At a first view this isn't looking so good for Luxembourg and maybe that's the only graph some countries were looking at?
Let's have a closer look at the higher confirmed Covid-19 tests per million people.
- We shouldn't forget that this are the known cases.
As Luxembourg is testing so much these numbers are very close to the reality. While other countries like Germany tested around 10% of their entire population, Luxembourg tested around 80%, so far.
2. A fact that a lot of people don't know is that around 20% of the confirmed Covid-19 cases in Luxembourg do not live in Luxembourg.
Theses are cross-border workers from Germany, France or Belgium. Luxembourg tests them for FREE as well. However, every positive case is added to the Covid-19 statistic of Luxembourg, because they were tested in Luxembourg.
That means as well that around 5% of all positive Covid-19 cases in Luxembourg live in Germany, that country that put Luxembourg on the risk area list.
What did Luxembourg do what their neighbor countries didn't?
Free tests at the airport for everyone
Since the “reopening” of Luxembourg international airport all passengers arriving to Luxembourg have the possibility to get tested, for FREE. Many airports around the world only start to test passengers coming home now, and only from certain areas.
We say “reopening” as the airport was never closed during the pandemic, Cargolux one of the biggest cargo airlines continued to fly to bring supplies to Luxembourg and their neighbor countries to fight the pandemic.
FREE tests for the population, and even for the neighbor countries.
Everyone living in Luxembourg has the possibility to get tested for free. Even people living around Luxembourg can get tested, and many are making use of this occasion. Around 20% of all positive tested cases in Luxembourg are non-residents.
As you can see in the graphic above, Luxembourg is testing a multiple compared to most countries in the rest of the world. With this strategy the country managed to recognize in a very early state how many of their citizens and border crosser are/were infected and could react immediately.
Has Luxembourg already been through the second wave ?
When looking at the stats you can observe that the new cases are already going down again. (date Aug,11)
New Covid-19 infections per day
From the 7,216 people that caught the virus, 6,170 have already recovered and 925 are still infected. 121 have died due to Covid-19, with an average age of 84 years.
Due to the fact that Luxembourg has one of the most accurate pictures of its Covid-19 situation, the country can immediately react and restrict certain kind of activities to get the situation under control rather quickly.
Maybe it is a bit too early to say that Luxembourg has already gone through a second wave, but so far they did an impressive job. Not all countries have the financial possibilities as has Luxembourg, so this strategy surely can't be transferred to every country.
But, pointing at countries that are going a bit of a different way, as Germany does, will not help to take the pandemic under control.