Isolation applies to people who have a confirmed infection with SARS-COV-2. This measure is designed to prevent the infected person, who is contagious, from spreading the infection to other people. Isolation is prescribed by the physician for a minimum of 14 days after the onset of symptoms. During this period of confinement at home, contact with other people must be avoided and a surgical mask must be worn whenever the infected person is in the presence of others.
People with acute respiratory infection symptoms (possible CoV-2-SARS infection) should self-isolate at home. They should stay home for 7 days from the onset of the symptoms and avoid contact with other people if possible. Once the symptoms have disappeared, they must stay at home for 24 more hours. Since March 12, the Government measures define that testing is no longer necessary if symptoms remain mild. For the duration of the illness, the patient benefits from a sick leave equivalent to a sickness certificate issued by the attending physician.
Further, any person who has been in direct or close contact (<2m, more than 15 minutes) with a confirmed case of infection or who lives in the same household as a person who is confirmed to be infected must self-quarantine at home for 7 days, followed by a 7-day period of self-surveillance (resumption of normal activities, but monitoring body temperature twice a day, or coughing, difficulty breathing). The person in question receives an absence of work certificate, equivalent to a sickness certificate, issued up by the Health Inspectorate and recognized by the health insurance. Certificates issued by health authorities of other European countries for quarantine measure are also recognized in Luxembourg.
On September 16, the state council decided that the mandatory quarantine period for people infected with Covid-19 will be reduced to 10 days. Any person in quarantine because they are infected or because they were traced to have contact with an infected person can get tested on the sixth day after their contact with the virus. Previously the test was available after five days, but to ensure accuracy an extra day was added. People violating isolation and quarantine rules can be fined up to EUR 500.
Adaptation of the self-isolation and self-quarantine procedures to facilitate contact tracing
In view of the increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections, the Health Inspectorate's contact tracing unit has adapted its operating mode in order to increase its responsiveness in contacting people, operational from 23 October 2020. Newly infected persons will always be called by phone by the Health Inspectorate. However, delays are possible due to the high number of people to be called per day. It is therefore recommended that every person who receives a positive test result self-isolates immediately. A person who has symptoms compatible with a COVID-19-infection and who has a PCR test performed, should also self-isolate as a precautionary measure while waiting for the test result. Persons in high-risk contact with a COVID-19 positive person (defined as a contact of more than 15 minutes, less than 2 metres away, without properly wearing a mask, having taken place within the period of time of 48 hours before the first symptoms) should put themself in self-quarantine. It is also recommended that every person with a positive test result should inform their high-risk contacts themselves so that these can initiate a self-quarantine.
The Health Inspectorate will continue to systematically call high-risk contacts for infections in a family setting (the highest risk of transmission since in a family setting the least preventive measures are taken) and will, as in the past, issue a quarantine order which, if necessary, can be used as a certificate of incapacity for work ("CIT"), as well as a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test on day 6 after the potentially infectious contact. Contact persons who are not automatically called by the Health Inspectorate but who nevertheless need a quarantine order (certificate of incapacity to work) or a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test can notify the Health Inspectorate by e-mail, indicating the reference number of the infected person (which is communicated to the infected person during the initial call by the Health Inspectorate). Communication by e-mail is strongly encouraged. For people who still prefer to go to their doctor to obtain these documents, the doctor can prescribe a COVID-19 PCR test for the day 6 check-up. The Health Department has also intervened with the Union des Entreprises Luxembourgeoises (UEL) so that the management applies a certain tolerance with regards to the time limits for the delivery of certificates so as not to penalise employees following possible delays by the Health Inspectorate.
Isolation and quarantine
Self-isolation or isolation apply to people who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection. They must isolate themselves at home and people living under the same roof, as well as intimate relationships, must be quarantined for a period of 7 days. Isolation is prescribed by the physician for a minimum of 10 days after the onset of symptoms. During this period of confinement at home, contact with other people must be avoided and a surgical mask must be worn whenever the infected person is in the presence of others.
People in auto-quarantine (who have been in high-risk contact with a person with a confirmed infection) must stay at home for 7 days starting with the last contact with the infected person. The Health Inspectorate will provide them with a certificate for sick leave if necessary. During this period, unprotected contact with other people should be avoided. From the 6th day, they will be asked, after receiving the prescription, to be tested for COVID-19 in a laboratory of their choice. If the test is negative, the quarantine is automatically terminated. For 7 days after the quarantine, they must carry out self-monitoring and wear a mask when they are in contact with other people. If symptoms appear, they should be tested anew immediately and placed in isolation.