Frequently asked Questions

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses, i.e. the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The new coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that had not yet been identified in humans.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the latest discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

COVID-19 infection remains mild in 80% of cases. In order to delay spreading among the general population and to protect vulnerable and fragile groups in the population, it is important to take a certain number of precautions.

The first symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza (flu) infections are often very similar. They both cause fever and similar respiratory symptoms, which can then range from mild through to severe disease, and sometimes can be fatal.

Both viruses are also transmitted in the same way, by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus. As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene (hand washing), good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue) and good household cleaning are important actions to prevent both infections.

The speed of transmission is an important difference between the two viruses. Influenza typically has a shorter incubation period (the time from infection to appearance of symptoms) than COVID-19. This means that influenza can spread faster than COVID-19.

While the range of symptoms for the two viruses is similar, the fraction with severe disease appears to be higher for COVID-19. While most people have mild symptoms, approximately 15% of people have severe infections and 5% require intensive care in a hospital ICU. The proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections are higher than for influenza infections.

Wearing a mask in a preventive manner is not recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a means to avoid contamination with the COVID-19 virus.
The WHO recommends that health personnel, who themselves have respiratory symptoms, should wear a surgical mask to avoid contaminating others.
The use of special masks (FFP2) to prevent infection with coronavirus only makes sense in hospitals where patients infected with coronavirus are treated and for the analysis of the body material of these patients.
Wearing an FFP2 mask is necessary for healthcare personnel when a test (nasal swab) is performed on a patient. Similarly, the laboratory technician must wear a surgical mask to be able to handle respiratory samples.

Stay home.
If you absolutely have to go out, observe the following recommendations:

  •     go shopping outside of peak hours, if possible,
  •     avoid places where it is not possible to keep a security distance of at least 2 metres;
  •     avoid public transport;

If you need to exert an economic activity, contact your physician by teleconsultation. In this way, you will be able to clarify whether you can continue your economic activity.
Protect yourself from coronavirus in the same way you'd do for the flu.
Observe the  protective measures and avoid poorly ventilated areas with many people.

Individuals are considered vulnerable if they are over 65 years of age or if they are already suffering from one of the conditions mentioned hereafter. Those conditions are:

  •     Diabetes
  •     Cardiovascular diseases
  •     Chronic diseases of the respiratory tract
  •     Cancer
  •     An immune deficiency due to a condition or therapy

COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease. However, the virus being present in the respiratory secretions and being able to be transmitted by direct contact of person to person, sexual intercourse is favorable to a transmission of the virus, if one of the partners is infected.

COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared.
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes.
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease caused by the virus is named COVID-19.

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