Latest update:

COVID-19 (Corona virus disease-19) is caused by a new corona virus, SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus-2).

The virus is human-to-human transmissible. Infection occurs through the inhalation of small droplets of saliva from an infected person that are released during speaking, coughing or sneezing. These droplets of saliva can also land on hands and objects. Touching these hands or objects and then touching one's own face can also result in infection.

Symptoms may occur two days to two weeks after the infection. The symptoms vary from mild flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia with fever, coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, gastrointestinal complaints and a temporary loss of taste and smell can occur. Elderly people and people with chronic conditions have a higher risk of serious symptoms and death. Children and pregnant women do not run a higher risk of serious symptoms and death.

Risk areas

You will find destination-specific information regarding COVID-19 through our country list.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, but has now grown into a pandemic with global outbreaks.

For more information about travel restrictions, read the information on the website of foreign affairs.


Basic hygiene

Wash or disinfect your hands regularly and especially:

  • After a visit to the toilet.
  • Before eating.
  • After you have touched a possibly contaminated object like a door handle or a shared keyboard.

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a disinfectant containing at least 60% to 95% alcohol. If your hands are visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water.

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Social distancing

Limit the number of social contacts you have.

Do not shake hands when greeting someone and keep 1.5 metres away from people who do not live with you.

Avoid places where many people gather.

Avoid sick persons

Stay away from sick people and make sure no one coughs or sneezes in your face.


Stay away from animals and their waste products. Do not visit animal markets. 

Food and drinks

Do not eat undercooked meat and non pasteurised milk products. 

Mouth masks

Wear a mouth mask in places where it is difficult to keep 1.5 meters of distance from others, such as in shops and on markets. In some places it is mandatory to wear a mouth mask.

Make sure the mask covers mouth and nose and do not touch it once in place.

More information on the correct use of mouth masks.


No vaccine is available. 

Do you have any symptoms that could point to COVID-19?

  • Are you sick and have you been in China for the past 14 days? Call your doctor and mention your travel history and symptoms. Do not go to a practice or hospital.
  • If you are (still) abroad, call your travel insurance company for advice. Do not go to a practice or hospital if you may be infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Avoid infecting others

  • Keep at least 1.5 meters away from other persons. If necessary, wear a mouth mask or cover your mouth and nose with a scarf.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable handkerchief when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of the handkerchiefs in a bin with a lid and wash hands.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands regularly, especially after sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay at home or in your hotel room until you know whether you are infected with SARS-CoV-2.

More information about COVID-19 on the federal public service website or call 0800 146 89.

Additional information for medical doctors

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