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, but it is not yet clear exactly how the infection takes place. Probably contamination occurs through droplets (coughing, sneezing) and through direct contact (hands), as with other corona viruses.

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. Serious symptoms are more common in the elderly and in persons with a chronic disorder. A very small number of seriously ill people die.

Risk areas

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, but has since spread to several other countries.

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 or before eating. 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.

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

Wearing a mouth mask is not recommended because it does not provide good protection. Wearing an FFP-2 mouth mask is only useful during the care of patients with COVID-19.


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.
  • If necessary, use this questionnaire to determine your risk of COVID-19.

Avoid infecting others

  • Keep your distance from other people.
  • 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 inside until you know whether you are infected with COVID-19.

More information about SARS-CoV-2 on the federal public service website or call 0800/14689.

If you are a medical doctor, have a look at the additional information on 2019-nCoV.

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