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We're just testing more, says Luxembourg after UK quarantine order

Fri, 31st Jul 2020 11:52

BRUSSELS, July 31 (Reuters) - Luxembourg, which has been
added to Britain's coronavirus quarantine list, is being
unfairly held up as the sick man of Europe and its large number
of COVID-19 cases reflects its unrivalled level of testing, a
government source said on Friday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says
Luxembourg had 240.6 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over
the last 14 days, much higher than any other country in the
European Economic Area.

The rate in Spain, another country from which passengers
arriving in Britain must quarantine for 14 days, stood at 50.7.
Luxembourg was added to the quarantine list late on Thursday.

"We are not happy, obviously, but what is most important is
that we keep borders open with our neighbours," the government
source said.

In the week to July 26, Luxembourg tested 65,436 residents,
about 10% of its population. Positive tests were fewer than 1%,
a number which Luxembourg officials say is much lower than the
equivalent in the country's neighbours. About a third of the
positive tests were from people without symptoms.

German plans to introduce a requirement that Luxembourg
visitors can enter the country only after having a negative
COVID-19 test have caused more consternation than the British
order.

Luxembourg is the only European Union country on the German
'high-risk' list although parts of Spain are also included.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn summoned the
German ambassador on Wednesday to say Germany should take into
account Luxembourg's special situation and its world-leading
tests per capita rate.

Cross-border workers make up just under half of all workers
in Luxembourg, while for the health sector over half of the
workforce lives in neighbouring Belgium, France or Germany.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; additional reporting by
Michele Sinner in Luxembourg; editing by Timothy Heritage)

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