In Luxembourg, one distinguishes between isolation, quarantine and self-monitoring measures.
Isolation applies to people who have been confirmed as being infected by COVID-19. They must self-isolate at home and the people living in the same house and their close contacts should quarantine themselves for 7 days. The aim is to prevent infected people - who are contagious - passing the infection on to anyone else.
Isolation is prescribed by the Health Directorate (Direction de la santé) for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. For asymptomatic persons, isolation begins on the day of the sampling. During this period of confinement at home, all contact should be avoided with other people and a surgical mask must be worn whenever anyone else is present. Failure to comply with an isolation measure incurs a fine.
Quarantine applies to people who have had high-risk contact with a person with a confirmed infection, i.e. face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes, unprotected physical contact, etc.
These people must stay at home for 7 days counting from the day of the last contact with the infected person. If necessary, the Health Inspectorate (Inspection sanitaire) will provide them with a certificate of incapacity for work. During this period, all unprotected contact with other people must be avoided.
From the 6th day onwards, they will be asked to be tested for COVID-19 at a laboratory of their choice, using the prescription that has been sent to them. If the result is negative, the quarantine requirement is automatically lifted.
During the 7 days following the quarantine, they must self-monitor and wear a mask when in contact with other people. If any symptoms appear, they must immediately be tested again and placed in isolation; failure to do so incurs a fine.
Self-monitoring lasts 14 days. It applies to people who have had low-risk contact with a person who has been confirmed as being infected. The aim is to detect any symptoms of infection as soon as they appear.
People who are self-monitoring take their temperature twice a day and check that they have no respiratory problems or cough and are able to continue with their normal activities.
There is no specific treatment at this time, although research is ongoing. The treatment is therefore mainly symptomatic, i.e. it is similar to the treatment for a cough, respiratory problems or high temperature. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that no medicines, including antibiotics, should be self-medicated to prevent or cure COVID-19.
How should I organise my isolation or quarantine?
Make a list of the basic items you will need during your isolation or quarantine (food, household products, prescription medicine, etc.) and have them delivered to your home.
If you do not live alone, isolate yourself in a single room and use separate sanitary facilities (toilet and shower) if possible. If you do not have your own bathroom, make sure to disinfect the premises after use.
You should always wear a mask when leaving your room and wash or disinfect your hands regularly.
Members of your household should avoid entering your room and approaching you at all costs, even if they bring you food. They are advised to leave the tray in front of your bedroom door.
Remember to air your room regularly. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (tables, door handles, switches, counters, desks, telephones, keyboards, toilets, taps and sinks).
Use your own tableware, which should preferably be cleaned in the dishwasher, as the washing time and water temperatures there are more effective against the virus than when you clean your dishes by hand.
Use your own sheets, towels and clothes which should preferably be machine washed with laundry soap at a temperature of 60° to 90°C. Do not allow other members of your household to handle or carry your laundry. Place your dirty laundry in a watertight container.
Make sure to eat healthy food and drink enough water or herbal teas. Take your temperature regularly and call your doctor if you feel unwell. If you have severe breathing problems, call the emergency services.
Remember to keep a telephone or other means of communication nearby, as well as emergency contact numbers.
Why is a second test after isolation not recommended?
The contagion rate of a person who no longer has symptoms is extremely low after the 10th day. However, he or she may remain positive for a longer period of time.
This is why the Health Directorate does not recommend a second test after the isolation phase.