Luxembourg plans to test entire population for virus

Luxembourg plans to test entire population for coronavirus

Women wear protective face masks during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in central station of Luxembourg, April 20, 2020. Credit: Reuters Photo

 Luxembourg plans to test its entire population for the coronavirus before the end of next month, at a rate of 20,000 per day, its government said Tuesday.

The Grand Duchy of 600,000 people is compact, landlocked and relatively wealthy but the plan to track the epidemic is an ambitious step up from the 39,000 tests conducted so far.

Some 3,729 cases have been confirmed among Luxembourg residents and cross-border workers affiliated to its health system and 88 people have died in the outbreak.

"We'll have tested the whole population of the country within a month," Claude Meisch, minister for research and higher education, told reporters on a videoconference.

Students and teachers have already been invited to one of the country's 17 testing stations in preparation for reopening schools next week.

"Get tested! It's an important contribution towards allowing us to live more freely in the weeks and months ahead," said the head of the emergency test program, Professor Ulf Nehrbass.

The nationwide test plan is expected to cost 40 million euros ($43 million) and each resident has already received five surgical masks to help prevent new infections as its lockdown rules are phased out.

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