In December 2019 the first cases of patients with symptoms of pneumonia of unknown cause were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified in January 2020, since when the novel coronavirus has spread to numerous countries worldwide. The WHO (World Health Organization) declared the infection a pandemic at the beginning of March.
According to the WHO, coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses known to cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The novel coronavirus is transmissible from person to person. The main transmission route is via droplets. Transmission can occur directly from person to person via the mucous membranes or indirectly via hands, which then come into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eye.1 According to current knowledge, the incubation period is up to 14 days.2
Following general hygiene measures, especially good and frequent hand hygiene, are the most important preventive measures to protect yourself from infection.
Avoid shaking hands and physical contact, such as hugs, especially with sick people.
Keep a distance of at least 1.5 m, especially with people who have a fever, cough or other symptoms of illness.
Disinfect your hands regularly in 6 steps with an alcohol-based hand disinfectant and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water.
Cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your arm or a tissue if you cough or sneeze.
Dispose used tissues immediately and then disinfect your hands.
If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulties, first seek medical advice from a doctor by telephone, describe your symptoms and mention possible contacts with those affected. Follow the instructions of your doctor and the local health authority.
1) Robert-Koch-Institut: Übertragungswege https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Steckbrief.html#doc13776792bodyText
2) Robert-Koch-Institut: Inkubationszeit und serielles Intervall https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Steckbrief.html#doc13776792bodyText