Recommendations for Prevention Measures – Corona Virus

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Please find below further recommendations on prevention measures specifically for the Corona Virus:

Which countries are affected by corona virus?
The metropolis of Wuhan (11 million inhabitants) and the province of Hubei in China, to which Wuhan belongs, are particularly affected. In the meantime, other countries have also reported cases; in Germany, first cases have been confirmed at the end of January. Current case numbers, affected countries and information on risk areas can be found at and

How does the Robert Koch Institute assess the situation in Germany?
It is a very dynamically developing situation. In all probability, further individual cases will be imported to Germany. Further individual transmissions and chains of infection in Germany are also possible. In order to prevent further spread in Germany, it is important to detect cases early, isolate them and consistently comply with hygiene measures. The risk arising from this new respiratory disease from China is currently still low for Germany’s population (status: 04.02.2020). This evolution may change in the short term due to new findings. The current assessment of the Robert Koch Institute on the situation in Germany can be found at

How is the Corona virus transmitted?
The new corona virus is transmissible from person to person. It is still unclear how easily these transmissions occur. In some provinces in China there is a continuous human-to-human transmission.  Individual cases have also been reported in which people may have contracted the virus from people who have shown no or no specific signs of disease.
The new coronavirus primarily causes respiratory diseases (see “What signs of disease are caused by coronaviruses?”). It can be assumed that – as with other coronaviruses – transmission occurs primarily via respiratory tract secretions. The novel coronaviruses have also been found in stool samples of some patients. However, it has not yet been conclusively clarified whether the 2019-nCoV can also be spread via the stool (faecal-oral). SARS and MERS coronaviruses have also been detected in stool.

How can you protect yourself from infection?
In order to avoid contagion with the infectious disease, good hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette and distance to people (about 1 to 2 metres) should be observed, especially in regions where the new coronavirus is present. However, in view of the corona wave, these measures are advisable everywhere and at all times.

Hand hygiene
Hands often come into contact with germs and can transfer them to anything that is touched afterwards. When shaking hands or over shared objects, pathogens can also easily pass from hand to hand.
If you then touch your face with your hands, the pathogens can enter the body via the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes and cause an infection.
Washing hands interrupts this transmission path. If no washing facilities are available on the way, you should at least avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose with your hands and eating food with your hands.
Public surfaces such as door handles, grab handles and railings are a possible transmission path for pathogens. If possible, do not touch them with your bare hands or disinfect your hands afterwards.
Absolute recommendation: disinfect hands regularly but at the very least after each physical contact (e.g. shaking hands or “danger contact”, like touching public door handles). Always carry a small bottle with you! ATTENTION: only hand disinfectants have a virucidal effect!
Please make sure that you rub your hands with a hand disinfectant for more than 30 seconds. You should pay special attention to fingertips, thumbs and the spaces between the fingers.

Cough and sneeze behaviour
When coughing or sneezing, no saliva or nasal secretions should be sprayed into the environment. It is often considered polite to hold your hand in front of your mouth when coughing or sneezing. From a health point of view, however, this is not a sensible measure: pathogens get into the hands and can then be passed on to others via shared objects or when shaking hands.
When coughing or sneezing, keep at least 1 meter distance from other people and turn away.
It is best to sneeze or cough into a tissue. Only use it once and then dispose of it in a bin with a lid. If a handkerchief is used, it should be washed at 60°C after using.
After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, wash or disinfect your hands thoroughly!
If no tissue or handkerchief is handy, you should keep the crook of your arm in front of your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and also turn away from other people.

Distance to persons
Contagion with transmissible infectious diseases can be prevented if it is possible to keep pathogens at a distance.
If possible, do not get closer than 1 metre to other people.
Especially when in the immediate vicinity of a person who is sneezing, stay at least 1-2 metres away.
Avoid gatherings of people if possible.

Measures in case of possible infection:
What signs of disease are caused by corona viruses?
Usual corona viruses usually cause mild cold symptoms with cough and cold. However, certain corona viruses can also cause severe infections of the lower respiratory tract and lead to pneumonia. Some patients also suffer from diarrhea. The new coronavirus seems to be associated with a more severe course in some of those affected. However, deaths have so far occurred mainly in patients who were older and/or had previously suffered from severe underlying disorders.
How long does it take for the disease to break out after infection?
It is currently assumed that it can take up to 14 days before signs of the disease appear after infection.
What should affected persons do in case of a possible corona virus infection?
People who develop symptoms such as fever or respiratory problems within 14 days should consult their doctor. It is important to call first. Announce your visit to your doctor’s practice or hospital and tell that you have been in an affected area or had contact with a person who is ill and have corresponding symptoms (e.g. fever).
Persons who have had close contact with a person in whom the novel virus (2019-nCoV) has been detected in the laboratory should also contact the relevant public health authority.

What treatments are available for coronavirus?
Not all diseases following infection with the novel coronavirus are severe; in the cases that have become known in Germany, cold symptoms have so far been the main manifestations. The treatment of the infection focuses on the optimal supportive measures depending on the severity of the clinical picture (e.g. oxygenation, levelling of the fluid balance, if necessary antibiotic administration to treat alternative/accompanying bacterial infections as well as the treatment of relevant underlying disorders). A specific therapy, i.e. directed against the novel coronavirus itself, is currently not available.

Status February 2020

Robert Koch Institute
Protection against infection
M. Faisst