The spread of the corona virus is currently keeping the world in suspense. In the meantime, the first Corona cases have also been reported in Italy, including in South Tyrol. In view of these developments, it is not unlikely that more people in Germany will become infected with the virus in the future. Expect that too Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn: “Corona has arrived in Europe as an epidemic,” he said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
How good are we at that Corona virus prepared? The Robert Koch Institute published answers to important questions in an online publication – among other things, how to protect yourself from infection.
What is the corona virus?
Corona viruses are not entirely new; they were first identified in the 1960s. They can infect both animals and humans, and can also cause diseases in the latter. The current spread is a novel corona virus called SARS-CoV-2. It is believed that it was first transmitted from an animal to humans at a fish market in Wuhan, China, and then spread from there.
What are the symptoms of an illness?
The Robert Koch Institute names cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever, and diarrhea is also possible. In some patients, the infection is worse and can lead to breathing problems and pneumonia.
Is the corona virus life-threatening?
Only in exceptional cases. Currently, only two percent of all diseases confirmed by laboratory diagnostics have resulted in death. Most of these patients were already very old and / or suffered from chronic underlying diseases.
Is the Corona Virus Coming to Germany?
In fact, it’s already there – so far there have been 16 registered corona cases in Germany, 14 of them in Bavaria. However, there is a likelihood that more people will become infected in Germany in the near future. The Federal Ministry of Health also believes this, as Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a press conference. Experts from the Robert Koch Institute continue to assess the risk to the health of the population in Germany as low.
Is Germany sufficiently prepared for the virus?
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, Germany is “best prepared”. People have been preparing for a possible spread for a long time and are in contact with (international) experts, including the WHO. Germany has an unprecedented network of competence centers and specialist clinics and every year it faces comparable challenges due to the flu waves. However, the corona virus has not yet been fully researched. The Robert Koch Institute writes: “Diseases with novel pathogens are very difficult to assess”.
Is there a vaccine?
So far there is no vaccine. However, Jens Spahn promised to provide additional funds for research into therapies and vaccines. According to media reports, a first candidate will be tested in a clinical trial in China in April 2020, for Germany there is no information yet.
How can I protect myself from being infected?
The most effective measures to protect against infection with respiratory infections – by the way, this also includes cold and flu viruses – are regular hand washing and keeping a minimum distance of one to two meters from suspected people.
Buying a mouthguard only makes sense to a limited extent – so far there is no reliable evidence that it provides significant protection against infection. The WHO even warns that wearing a mouthguard could create a false sense of security and, for example, neglect hand hygiene.
You can find more recommendations on the The Federal Center for Health Education.
Can I still accept parcels from China or eat imported food from there?
A transmission via inanimate surfaces has not been documented so far and is therefore considered unlikely.
What can I do if I think I am infected?
If you have had personal contact with a person who has been diagnosed with the corona virus in the laboratory or were in a risk area, you should generally avoid contact with other people. You should also get in touch with the responsible health department – you will find which one is for you on this website out.
If you want to see a doctor, register by phone and refer to your trip or contact with infected people.
Can I still travel to countries where the Corona virus has broken out?
For health recommendations on planned trips to certain countries, you can go to the Federal Foreign Office inform. Possible risk factors are listed there, for the corona virus mostly under “News”.
Current information on the Corona virus can also be found on the Ministry of Health website.